A Circuit Court in Accra has issued bench warrant against a Nigerian Businessman, Martins Eze Obina, who was nabbed in Ghana to face United States District Court over fraud-related charges.
Obina who has been granted bail earlier, failed to turn up in court when the matter was called.
Lawyer for Obina was also absent in court.
Chief Superintendent of Immigration (CSI) Adolf Aboagye Asenso, the Prosecutor, therefore, prayed the Court for a bench warrant against the accused.
The Court, presided over by Mr Emmanuel Essandoh, granted the prosecution’s request.
The matter has been adjourned to March 8.
Obina’s lawyer, Ms Sarah Kusi, had earlier prayed the Court to admit her client to bail because Obina had been in detention since December 27, 2021.
According to the defence counsel, the only charge against her client was an immigration related charge.
She said the immigration related charge was a misdemeanour, and that the accused could only be fined GHC1,000 or go to jail for two years or both.
Chief Superintendent of Immigration (CSI), Aboagye Asenso, however, opposed the grant of bail, saying Obina was being detained for the purpose of extradition pursuant to Article 14 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution.
CSI Aboagye Asenso prayed the Court to remand the accused for the extradition process to be exhausted, saying
several institutions were involved in the process.
The GIS, in January this year, was ordered to produce the accused in court after lawyer for Obina had filed for bail pending his case at the Circuit Court.
The GIS complied with the court’s order and informed the court that the Service had to hand over Obina to the International Police (INTERPOL) to face the US District Court over fraud-related charges.
The GIS indicated to the court that it had received an FBI alert indicating that the suspect was a member of a transnational cyber syndicate and a hacker.
The same court had given a week for Obina to go through the extradition process.
It asked that the court be updated on the extradition process.
Obina had earlier been put before the Kaneshie District Court for acquiring Ghana’s resident permit through false declaration.
The District Court preserved his plea and declined to set out bail conditions for Obina because his lawyer had informed the court that his client had been admitted to bail by a Circuit Court in Accra.
At the Circuit Court, the GIS, through CSI Aboagye Asenso, produced the USA District Court arrest warrant to the Circuit Court, saying Obina had been indicted in the USA in the year 2021.
CSI Aboagye Asenso said Obina resided in a rented apartment at Teshie and, therefore, he could abscond.
Obina allegedly claimed to be a shareholder in a company in Ghana but checks by the GIS at the Registrar General’s Department indicated that the said company was a sole proprietor firm, and that Obina could not be a shareholder in sole proprietorship.