A bench warrant on James Richard Nolan, a Briton, has been issued by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The bench warrant was issued against him for jumping bail and failing to appear before the court for trial.
Justice D. U. Okorowo issued the bench warrant on Tuesday.
Nolan, one of the directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution, DNFI, and another company, ICIL Limited, are standing trial on 16 counts bordering on money laundering.
On the last adjourned date, counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, G.C. Ofulue, sought a bench warrant on the defendant, but the judge decided to give the defence more time to produce him on the next adjourned date.
At the resumed trial on Tuesday, defence counsel, Michael Ajara, told the court that his team was on the trail of the defendant, prompting the prosecution counsel to again request the court to issue a bench warrant on the defendant and his surety to show cause why his properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Wilson Uwajaren, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
However, Ajara pleaded with the court not to arraign the surety yet, explaining that his team, the Nigeria Police, EFCC and the surety himself, were trying their best to produce the defendant in court.
“My lord, as I speak, even the surety who was in court at the last adjourned date and is still present today, in conjunction with the police, are still searching for the defendant.
“But up till now, no clue to as what has happened to him, and the police are still investigating. We are still appealing to my lord to again give us more time to know what has happened to him while the investigation is still ongoing,” he said.
The judge thereafter issued a bench warrant on the defendant and ordered the surety to appear before him on the next adjourned date to show cause why his properties should not be forfeited to the government.
The judge also adjourned the case till February 7, 2023.
Nolan, a Director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) is facing a $9.6 billion money laundering trial alongside Goidel Resources and ICIL Limited.
The trial bordering on 16 counts of money laundering charges started during the time of Justice Okon Abang of the same Federal High Court in Abuja in 2019 when the EFCC had already secured the liquidation of the company and the conviction of some of its management staff.
One of the witnesses presented by the EFCC, Adewale Agunbiade, an account officer with Guarantee Trust Bank, Abuja, who handled the opening of the accounts for the companies, during one of the proceedings in 2019, told the court that he knew the defendant and was familiar with the names of Goidel Resources Ltd and ICIL Ltd.
When the prosecution counsel led Agunbiade in evidence, he said, “We received a request to provide the account opening document from the EFCC and the statement of account in August 2019.
“We had the account opening document retrieved from our archives and the statements were generated. We forwarded it to our compliance team to deliver to the EFCC.”
The witness further told the court that $125,000 was credited to the account of Goidel Resources Ltd. by Nolan on February 1, 2016, through account number 0154696732, adding that on February 13, 2018, there was a transfer of $120,000 from LIR Resources Nigeria Ltd. to Goidel Resources.
He also revealed that on December 15, 2015, there was a transfer of N50 million from Box Design Ltd to Goidel Resources Ltd via account number 0151728629, noting that on November 6, 2015, a transfer of N10m came again from Box Design to Goidel Resources.
The EFCC had arraigned Nolan before the Federal High Court but it was reported that he jumped bail.
In November 2019, the commission filed an extra 16 counts against him in addition to the previous 16 counts bordering on money laundering that he was facing at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Nolan was earlier arraigned in connection with the case of the Irish engineering company, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) it signed with the Nigerian government.
A United Kingdom court had granted P&ID the sum of $9.6 billion in damages for the non-execution of the gas and supply processing agreement the company had with the Nigerian Government.
Also in May, the EFCC arraigned Nolan, Director of Micad Project City Services Limited, before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged N151.3 million fraud.
Nolan was arraigned on 20 counts involving obtaining by false pretence, non-compliance with the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as amended) and criminal conversion of proceeds of crime amounting to N151,394,328.
According to the anti-graft agency, the Briton, who is the director of the company and signatory to its account, allegedly obtained by false pretence the amount from the Federal Capital Territory Administration.