The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (FHC) on Thursday ordered a surety, George Kadiri, to forfeit his N100 million bail bond to the federal government over his inability to produce fleeing British national James Nolan in court.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling, also ordered Mr Kadiri, an Igala chief who was absent in court, to be remanded in prison custody until the payment of the N100 million.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the court had, on September 28, 2022, revoked the N100 million bail granted to Mr Nolan, a director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), for jumping bail.
In a ruling in another charge filed before the judge, Mr Mohammed issued a bench warrant against Mr Nolan and ordered that he should be arrested by security agencies, including the Interpol, anywhere he is sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand his trial.
The judge also directed the surety (Mr Kadiri) to appear in court to show cause why his bail bond should not be forfeited.
Meanwhile, when the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) against Micad Project City Services Ltd and Mr Nolan (first and second defendants) before Justice Egwuatu was called for ruling on Thursday, Mr Kadiri was not in court.
The surety’s lawyer, Lisa Egwu, tendered a medical certificate, claiming Mr Kadiri had a bathroom accident a week ago and was too ill to attend the court sitting.
Delivering his ruling, Mr Egwuatu held that the prosecution’s submission was not in doubt that Nolan had jumped bail and that he is currently in Ireland.
He held that since September 27, 2022, the surety and the defence team had been aware that the second defendant (Mr Nolan) had jumped bail.
The judge also agreed with the anti-graft agency that the surety had made no significant effort to ensure the attendance of the fleeing Briton in court, nor had he shown to the court what additional or fresh effort he intended to make in procuring his attendance in court.
Mr Egwuatu further agreed with the prosecution that Mr Kadiri, from the look of things, did not know Mr Nolan and that there was every likelihood that the suretyship was just a business transaction.
The judge, who held that it was the surety’s responsibility to produce the defendant in court, said this was even when a bail relationship is a transaction between the surety and the court.
He, therefore, said that the responsibility of producing Mr Nolan in court neither lied on the police nor the EFCC.
He adjourned the matter until October 24 for the substantive trial.
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.