Justice Peter Odo Lifu of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, ordered a lawyer, Mr. Kehinde Awowole to produce his client, a popular businesswoman, Princess Toyin Kolade, who was alleged to be involved in a $32 million USD fraud, in court on December 3.
Princess Toyin Kolade alongside six others were charged before the court by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) in a charge marked FHC/L/407c/2019, for an alleged fraud of the above-mentioned sum, by false pretence.
Others charged alongside the businesswoman are four India nationals, Prem Garg, Devashish Garg, Bhagwan Simgh Rawat and Mukul Tyagi and two Britons, Marcus Wade, and Andrew Fairie, said to be at large.
Also, four companies: Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, Wilben Trade Limited, Fisolak Global Resources Limited, and Kannu Aditya India Limited, were also charged before the court on the alleged offences.
The lawyer had undertaken to produce the businesswoman in court when the matter first came up before the judge.
At the hearing of the matter on November 4, the lawyer had failed to produce the businesswoman, the event which made the presiding judge to order the lawyer to show cause for failing to produce the businesswoman, Princess Toyin Kolade.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Princess Kolade’s lawyer, Awowole, who was led by Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN) pleaded with the court for forgiveness over his failure to produce his client as ordered by the court.
Awowole told the court that he and his client were not aware of the Court’s last sitting. And that he became aware of today’s proceedings through social media, specifically Facebook and his WhatsApp group.
Awowole also pleaded with the court to forgive his client who he said was out of the Court’s jurisdiction. He promised to produce the defendant in court at the next sitting of the court.
In countering the lawyer’s plea, the prosecutor, Dr. Pius Akutah, a Chief Counsel in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), told the court that hearing notice was duly served on the Businesswoman and same was filed with the court.
The presiding judge confirmed the prosecutor’s submissions and also read out how the lawyer undertook to produce Princess Kolade in court.
However, upon the counsel’s plea for mercy and forgiveness, Justice Lifu while reordered Awowole to produce Princess Toyin Kolade in court at the next adjourned date. While he fixed December 3, for hearing of all applications filed by other defendants in the charge, by the consent of all parties.