James Nolan, a British national is on a police watchlist for jumping bail and failing to appear for trial bordering on money laundering allegations levelled against him.
A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, yesterday gave the arrest order.
Nolan, a Director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), is standing trial, alongside Lurgi Consult Limited and others, in a money laundering case amounting to the tune of $9.6 billion.
In a press statement by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), an agency that dragged the convicts to court, Nolan has broken the terms of his bail conditions offered to him by the court and therefore revoked the bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
The judge also ordered his surety to appear in court on the next adjourned date, to justify why the bail bond should not be forfeited to the court.
Prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, had earlier prepared to proceed with the cross-examination of Prosecuting Witness 1, Temitope Erinomo, when the court was informed that the second defendant was nowhere to be found and efforts to ascertain his whereabouts proved abortive.
Sanga expressed dismay with the absence of Nolan in court, saying that the first defendant, Lurgi Consult Limited, has never been represented in court, as a corporate body, since the matter started.
He also told the court that, investigations by the EFCC showed that the property given by the surety, in Gwagwalada, Abuja, was not worth N100m. He prayed the court to restrain the defence team from further delaying the case.
Responding to the absence of Nolan in court, defence counsel, Micheal Ajara claimed that his sudden disappearance was strange.
“My Lord, the defendant in question, has always appeared in court, except for the last adjourned date that he was sick. His medical report shows that he has bipolar, a history of mental illness and it is uncertain if the defendant is fine. We have notified the police, including the prosecution, and all efforts to ascertain his whereabouts have proven abortive,” he said.
The defence counsel, however, prayed the court to grant the defence time to ascertain his whereabouts.
“What is clear to the court right now, is that the second defendant is nowhere to be found and there is no justification with a certainty of his whereabouts”, Justice Mohammed said.
Sanga begged the court that the bail of the second defendant be revoked, a bench warrant issued for his arrest and the bail bond be forfeited. His prayers were granted.