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Arson: Court orders arrest of Lebanese, another accused 

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Wednesday issued a warrant of arrest on a Lebanese,  Maged Ali-Taan, over failure to appear before it.

Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa, issued the warrant following the refusal of the defendants to appear in court.

The accused are to enter their plea over a charge of alleged arson.

Ali-Taan, the Managing Director of Alibert Products Nigeria Limited alongside his employee, Mustapha Tiamiyu, are charged by the Inspector General of Police.

When the case was called for arraignment, the Prosecution Counsel, Abdulsalam Saleh, told the court that the defence counsel who stood as the surety to the defendants promised to provide them today (Wednesday) for arraignment.

Saleh said: “To our greatest dismay the defence counsel chose to disrupt this court upon the opportunity and grace given to him.

“He should tell us why the defendants are not in court as he promised to provide them at the last adjourned date on November 22.

“We will file an application for the counsel to forfeit the bond he entered to produce the defendants pursuant to section 179 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015”.  

Responding, the defence counsel, Yahaya Isa-Abdulrashid, informed the court that his superior has sent a letter to the Chief Judge of Federal High seeking for the transfer of the case to Abuja.

“My lord, we sincerely apologise for not providing the defendants in court,” he said.

Nasir-Yunusa said the case was a criminal matter.

The jurist held:  “I don’t see how it can be transferred.

“I am disappointed the defence counsel failed to provide his clients as he promised today for arraignment”

He therefore adjourned the matter until January 17, 2024 for arraignment.

The defendants are charged on three-counts, including: conspiracy, arson and attempt to tamper with an electric transformer.

The defendants on December 20, 2021 were alleged to have conspired willfully and maliciously set fire on a building at No 5c Murtala Muhammed Way Kano which he occupied as a tenant and used as a showroom.

“In the process Ali-Taan made a fraudulent insurance claim on the said building.

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“The defendants also allegedly attempted to tamper with electric cables and transformer used for supplying electricity to the said building”

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened the provisions of section 3(6),1(4)(a) and 1(19)(a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act.

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