Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has issued a warrant of arrest on an un-named defence witness, in the trial of Walter Wagbatsma, Adaoha Ugo Ngadi and their Company, Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.The witness, a Director of Petroleum Resources, who had earlier been subpoenaed to appear in court with some documents, failed to honour the court's invitation.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 4th defendants, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, informed the court that the witness, has yet to honour the invitation sent to him.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the court that he was not served with a copy of the subpoena the court gave the Director of Petroleum Resources.

Justice Okunnu, after issuing the bench warrant on the defence witness, adjourned the matter to February 25, 2015 for further hearing.

Wagbatsama, Adaoha Ugo Ngadi and their Company, Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, are standing trial for alleged N1.9billion subsidy fraud. At the last court session, Justice Okunnu dismissed all three applications filed on behalf of Walter Wagbatsama, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi and their company, Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, challenging the jurisdiction and competence of the court as well as a no- case submission, by the defendants.

According to the judge, “it is the nature of the offense that determines the jurisdiction and the charges here, are matters that can be tried in the High Court. When it comes to trial of criminal cases, the line between federal and state is necessarily blurred. Section 251 (3) has not robbed the High Court of jurisdiction in this matter, this case is not an admiralty case but a pure criminal matter.

Therefore, it is not the pieces of peripheral evidence before the court that determines jurisdiction, but the nature of the law that has been infringed.” She subsequently directed the defendants to be ready for trial.

Media & Publicity
24th February, 2015