Senator Hope Uzodinma N200 million dud cheque mess has taken a fresh dimension as a court in Abuja has ordered the publication of public summons against him following the failure of security agents to produce him despite a pending arrest warrant issued against him.
Justice Abdulwahab Mohammed of the Grade One Area Court, Kubwa, Abuja who gave the order in a ruling on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 relied on the provisions of sections 41 and 42 of the Administration of Criminal Act (ACJA) 2015.
The order requires that public notices are issued and published either in a newspaper with wide circulation or paste in conspicuous places, indicating that the Senator was being wanted in court to answer to a criminal summons pending against him.
Sections 41 and 42 of the ACJA state as follows:
(41) Where a court has reason to believe, whether after evidence or not, that a suspect, against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by itself or by any court or Justice of the Peace, has absconded or is concealing himself so that the warrant cannot be executed, the court may publish a public summons in writing requiring that person to appear at a specific place and a specific time not less than 30 publishing the public summons.
(1) A public summons shall be published:
(a) in a newspaper that enjoys wide circulation or circulated in any other medium as may be appropriate.
(b) by affixing it to some conspicuous part of the house or premises or to some conspicuous place in the town or village, in which the person ordinarily resides; or
(c) by affixing a copy to some conspicuous part of the High Court or Magistrate’s court building.
(2) A statement in writing from the Judge of the High Court or a Magistrate to the effect that the public summons was duly published on a specified day, shall be conclusive evidence that requirements of this section have been complied with and that the public summons was published on such day.
The court had, on September 18 this year, issued a warrant of arrest against Uzodinma following his failure to attend court to answer to a direct criminal complaint lodged against him by by Chima Akuzie and a firm, Chitex Ventures Ltd.
In the complaint marked: CR/358/2018,with Uzodinma and his companies – Smiec Engineering and Chemical construction company and Niger Global Engineering and Technical company Limited – listed as defendants, the complainants claimed that the Senator issued them a N200 million UBA dud cheque (bounced cheque).
Akuzie said Uzodinma subcontracted to his company a shore-line protection contract in Koko, Delta State, which he (Uzodinma) got form the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and that the cheque was intended to pay for the execution of the project.