A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant against Turkish Airlines and two of its principal officers for their failure to appear before it in a criminal suit filed against them by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the breach of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Act.
Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court 10 issued the bench warrant on Tuesday against the airline and two of its principal officers, Liker Ayci and Rasak Shobowale, the airline’s Board Chairman and Commercial Manager respectively because of their failure to appear in Court at the resumed hearing of the case.
The airline and the other two accused persons had at the last hearing of the case on February 9, 2017, failed to appear in court for the case, prompting the presiding judge to issue a criminal summons for them to appear on Tuesday. Issuing the bench warrant on Tuesday, Justice Quadri ordered that they are brought before his court on April 17, 2017, which is the next adjourned date for the arraignment of the accused persons.
The Federal Government dragged the Turkish Airlines before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged criminal violation of the enabling law of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and for impunity.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed a three-count charge against the airline and the two principal officers for failing to produce relevant documents under Section 18 of the CPC Act, Cap C25, Laws of the Federation.
The prosecution came on the heels of the consistent refusal of Turkish Airlines to respond to lawful requests of CPC for a full situation report on the airline’s alleged shoddy treatment of passengers of Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on 25th and 31st of December 2015 and 9th of January 2016 , which prompted the Council to approach the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for the prosecution of the airline.
According to the charge list with number FHC/ABJ/CR/147/21, the Federal Government alleged that the three accused persons between the 20th December 2015 and March 2016 “without sufficient cause refused to provide the Consumer Protection Council documents on Turkish Airlines’ policy on delayed baggage”, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 18 of the CPC Act.
The accused persons were also arraigned before the court for allegedly neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before CPC on the number of passengers aboard Turkish Airlines Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on 25th and 31st of December 2015 as well as 9th of January 2016, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 18 of the CPC’s enabling law.
The federal government also accused the airline and its two principal officers of violating the same section of the CPC Act by neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before the consumer protection agency on the detailed steps taken by the airline to provide redress and compensation to passengers aboard its Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on the said dates, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage.
The prosecution of the airline and its principal officers followed warning by the Federal Government to the airline to respond within 21 days to the Consumer Protection Council’s request for full situation report on the airline’s alleged shoddy treatment of passengers of flight TK 623 of Sunday December 20, 2015 and other subsequent flights during the yuletide or face prosecution.