The absence of Managing Director (MD), Dana Air, Hathiramani Ranesh, and the prosecution lawyer in court, on Thursday, stalled Ranesh’s arraignment on allegations bordering on fraud.
The matter, which was before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, Abuja, could not proceed when the matter was called.
Our correspondent reports that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/101/21 which was on number 13 on the day’s cause list, was for the arraignment of Ranesh and two others.
However, Ranesh’s counsel, Ade Adedeji, SAN, was in court.
Adedeji informed Justice Egwuatu that the prosecution and the defence were exploring reconciliation.
The lawyer, who said the matter was already being settled, said he had an application to take.
But the judge said since the prosecution lawyer and the defendant were not in court, such application would not be taken.
Egwuatu consequently adjourned the matter until Jan. 25 for arraignment of the defendants.
Reports have it that since the matter was filed, Dana MD had not been present in court.
On June 30, 2021, when the matter came up, 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 Ranesh 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.
Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Wilson Michelangelo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment, Egwuatu had fixed Oct. 13, 2021, for arraignment of the suspects.
On Oct. 13, 2021 when the matter came up, Justice Egwuatu was said to be on official engagement in Lagos State.
Although counsel who appeared for the AGF, Moshood A., and lawyer to the defendant, Adedeji, SAN, were in court, the judge’s absence hindered the proceeding.
Besides, NAN did not sight Mr Ranesh in court.
The court then fixed Feb. 15 for the arraignment of Mr Ranesh and two other defendants in the matter and on the adjourned date, the case was also fixed for May 26 for arraignment.
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