On Wednesday, the Federal High Court, Abuja, granted the Economic and Financial Crimes’ (EFCC) request to continue the trial of a Briton, James Nolan, in absentia after he jumped bail.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order following an application by EFCC’s counsel, Bala Sanga, which Mr Nolan’s lawyer, Peace Ogbonna, did not oppose.
On September 28, 2022, Justice Mohammed revoked the N100 million bail granted to Mr Nolan, a director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
The judge, in a ruling, also issued a bench warrant against him, directing that the British national should be arrested by security agencies, including Interpol, anywhere he is sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand his trial.
Mr Mohammed gave the order following an oral application made by Mr Sanga.
On August 18, 2020, the anti-graft agency arraigned Mr Nolan before Justice Mohammed in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020.
While Lurgi Consult Limited is the first defendant, Mr Nolan is the second defendant in the matter.
Mr Nolan, alleged to be at large, is also standing trial in about eight other cases for his involvement in the $9.6 billion controversial contract awarded to P&ID.
Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, the anti-graft agency lawyer prayed the court for an order to continue the trial in Mr Nolan’s absence in accordance with section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
Mr Sanga argued that since Mr Nolan had been absent in court on September 28, 2022, November 3, 2022, and today (Wednesday), making it the third consecutive time he refused to attend his trial, his plea should be granted.
He further argued that the continued delay in the trial would lead to injustice for the prosecution and the first defendant (the company).
According to him, justice delay is justice denied.
Mr Ogbonna, who appeared for Mr Nolan, did not oppose, and Jthe judge granted the prayer.