June 22, 2024
Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Lagos Federal High Court has dismissed the application to quash criminal charge and extradition order, filed by two Lebanese, Nabil Maukarzel and Halawi Fidaa, who were accused of defrauding Ecobank Plc of the sum of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14 billion, for lacking in merit.
The two Lebanese, who are currently residing in Spain, were charged before the court on charges bordering on alleged conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and fraud of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14 billion, by the men of Force Criminal Investigation Department (ForceCID) Annex Alagbon-Ikoyi Lagos, in a charge marked FHC/L/260c/2021
During the pendency of the charge, the two defendants became elusive and failed to appear in court to take their plea on the allegations against them.
Following their failure to appear in court for the matter, the through its prosecutor S. O. Ayodele, applied to court for an extradition order against them, which granted by the court.
However, lawyer to the defendants, Mesuabari M. Josiah, approached the court with application to quash the charge and application to upturn the extradition order made by the court.
The counsel also filed before a notice of appeal against the extradition order and motion for stay of the extradition order.
But the police lawyer, S. O. Ayodele, in response to the defendants’ motions, filed a counter of paragraphs to the motion and preliminary objection to the motions, whereby he canvassed several arguments why court should not grant their applications.
Ayodele particularly argued that the court can only grant the defendants’ reliefs, after they have submitted themselves to court and take their plea on the charges against them.
Ruling on the applications and arguments canvassed by counsel, justice Osiagor held that “fugitive defendants, who refuse to submit themselves to court, has no right of audience”.
Justice Osiagor thereafter dismissed the two defendants’ applications for lacking in merit.
The police had accused the two Lebanese, Nabil Maukarzel and Halawi Fidaa, of defrauding Ecobank Plc of the sum of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14 billion.
The two Lebanese and others now at large, were alleged to have disappeared into tiny air, after defrauded bank of the said sum, on the pretence of using the money to import goods into Nigeria.
They were alleged to have committed the offences at Apapa, sometimes in the year 2014 at Apapa Lagos, in Lagos State of Nigeria.
The charges against the defendants read: “That you Nabil Maukarzel ‘M’, Halawi Fidaa ‘M’ and others now large sometimes in the year 2014 at Apapa Lagos, in Lagos State of Nigeria within the Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria conspired among yourselves to commit felony to with obtaining the sum of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14K (Nine Billion Four hundred and forty-one million, eight hundred and twenty-four thousand, one hundred and two naira and fourteen Kobo Only) from Eco Bank Of Nigeria Limited under the pretense that you are using the sac sum to import goods into Nigeria, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee fraud and other Fraud related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section (3) of the same Act.
“That you Nabil Maukarzel ‘M’, Halawi Fidaa ‘M” and others now large sometimes in the year 2014 at EcoBank Of Nigeria Limited, No. 21. Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island in Lagos State of Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the total sum of N9, 441, 824, 102. 14K (Nine Billion, Four hundred and forty one million, eight hundred and twenty-four thousand, one hundred and two n and fourteen Kobo Only) from Eco Bank Of Nigeria Limited under the pretense that you are using the said sum to import goods into Nigeria, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary Section 1 (a)(c) & 1 (2) of the Advance Fee fraud and other Fraud relate Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same act.

“That you Nabil Maukarzel ‘M’, Halawi Fidaa ‘M’ and others now at large sometimes in the year 2014 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court steal the total sum of N9, 441, 824, 102.14K (Nine Billion, four hundred and forty-one million, eight hundred and twenty-four thousand, one hundred and two naira and fourteen Kobo Only) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”