Alleged fraud: Absence of judge stalls arraignment of Dana Air MD, others


By Aluta News

Oct. 13, 2021

The absence of Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday stalled the planned arraignment of the Managing Director (MD), Dana Air, Hathiramani Jacky Ranesh, on allegations bordering on fraud.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had, on June 30, reported that the court fixed the arraignment of Mr Ranesh and two other defendants for Oct. 13.

The case, which was on number five on the cause list, however, could not proceed due to Justice Egwuatu’s official engagement at the judges’ seminar in Lagos State.

Although counsel to the Dana MD, Ade Adedeji, SAN, was sighted in court, Ranesh was not seeing as at the time of filing the report.

NAN reports that in the suit marked: CR/101/21 the MD of Dana Air is the first defendant.

NAN reports that at the last adjourned date, while other defendants were in court, Ranesh was absent.

Adedeji had told the court that the absence of his client in court was to the knowledge of the prosecution.

When the matter was called, Adedeji, said he was in court to represent Ramesh after they were served with the notice of arraignment

The lawyer had told the court that his client was not in the country.

“The charge before this honourable court is a serious matter.

“We came in from Lagos just to come and explain to your lordship the circumstances that informed our acceptance of service without knowing that the date is coming so soon.

“We didn’t know before we accepted it. We have an option not to accept this but as officer in the temple of justice, we felt we are under obligation to accept on his (Ranesh’s) behalf.

“But to the knowledge of counsel to the prosecution, the principal defendant is not in the country which was made known to the prosecution.

“It is on the basis of these circumstances that we shall be appealing to your lordship for an adjournment my lord to enable the defendant appear before this honourable court,” he had said.

And after counsel to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Wilson Michelangelo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment, Egwuatu fixed Oct. 13 for arraignment of the suspects.

The court fixed Feb. 15, 2022 for arraignment.