The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed the 27th of June to rule on whether it has the jurisdiction to entertain the criminal charge against the Anosike brothers, Noel and Fidelis.
In the charge, the accused persons were alleged to have obtained N25 million from the Education Trust Fund under the pretence of setting up an Electronic Library for Daily Times.
The alleged offence is said to contravene the provisions of Sections 1 (3) and 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2005.
Counsel to the defendants, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN) has told the court that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain a criminal charge against the brothers.
Mr Quakers made the submission before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke
He said that there were two applications in the form of preliminary objections, challenging the court’s power to entertain the suit.
“My lord our first application is an objection to the service of the charge on the accused, while the second seeks to quash same” he said.
Citing section 215 of the criminal procedure act and a plethora of authorities, Quakers told the court that it is an anomaly for an accused to be arraigned on a charge that is not properly served.
He also argued that despite early service of their preliminary objection on the prosecution, they had failed to serve the defence with their counter affidavit, in response to the objection.
“My lord, we have filed and served on the prosecution our notice of preliminary objection, contesting service of the charge on the accused.
“The prosecution only responded to the application dated Feb. 13, 2013, but have failed to serve us with their counter affidavit with respect to the first application dated Nov. 19.
“It is trite law that where there is an application challenging service of a charge on an accused, the court has a duty to rule on it one way or the other.
“The baliffs of this court have not followed due process of law, in effecting service of the charge on the accused, and this is the basis of our first objection.
“Service of process goes to the jurisdiction of the court, and since the prosecution has failed to respond to same, it is deemed admitted.
“I hereby submit that the jurisdiction of this court has not been properly invoked to bring the accused under its jurisdiction” Quakers argued.
Meanwhile the prosecutor Mr Ernest Ezebilo argued that the charge had been duly served on the accused.
He maintained that the proof of service of the charge was clearly exhibited in the court’s file, and it did not matter the manner in which the accused were served.
Ezebilo also told the court that he had equally responded to the objection raised by the defence, and urged the court to proceed with the case.
Justice Aneke has reserved ruling on the issue of service till June 27.