The Lagos State Federal High Court has refused to dismiss the case of a criminal charge and extradition order filed against two Lebanese, Nabil Maukarzel and Halawi Fidaa, by the police.
The defendants were accused of defrauding Ecobank Plc of the sum of N9.4bn.
The foreigners, who were said to have since fled to Spain, were charged with three counts bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, and fraud to the tune of N9.4bn
The Force Criminal Investigation Department told the court that the defendants became elusive and failed to appear in court to take their plea.
The FCID’s prosecutor, S. O. Ayodele, applied to the court for an extradition order against them, which was granted by Justice Daniel Osiagor.
However, a lawyer, Mesuabari Josiah, approached the court on behalf of the foreigners with an application to quash the charge and to void the extradition order made against the Lebanese.
The counsel also filed a notice of appeal against the extradition order and a motion for a stay of the extradition order.
But the police lawyer, Ayodele, in his response to the defendants’ motions, filed a counter-affidavit, urging the court to dismiss the applications.
The police counsel argued that the court could not grant the defendants any relief while they had refused to submit themselves to the court.
In his ruling, Justice Osiagor held that “fugitive defendants, who refuse to submit themselves to court, have no right of an audience.”
The judge thereafter dismissed the two defendants’ applications for lacking merit