Popular Nollywood actor, James Ikechukwu Esomugha, a.k.a Jim Iyke, who is facing trial over his alleged involvement in a N15 million share scam, has begged a Chief Magistrate Court in Abuja to allow him to settle the case out of court.
The controversial actor, who often plays bad boy role in movies, is answering to a one count criminal charge preferred against him by the Nigerian Police Force.
He was specifically charged with criminal breach of trust, criminal force, assault, cheating and criminal misappropriation contrary to sections 312, 265, 322, 397 and 309 of the Penal Code.
Police alleged that he used fraudulent tactics and acquired 15 per cent equity shares of a music company, Untamed Records Ltd.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Chijoke Okezie, told the court that investigation into the case revealed that the accused, a resident of Sunnyville Estate, Abuja, hoodwinked one Habiba Abubakar into granting him access to share documents of the recording company.
He said police was invited into the case after Abubakar who is the manager of the company, discovered that 15 per cent of its equity shares was transferred to Jim Iyke.
Trial Magistrate Azubike Okeagu had on November 11, 2011, granted him bail in the sum of N500, 000, after he pleaded not guilty to the charge and brought two sureties before the court.
Meanwhile, following his absence in court on Tuesday, Police applied that a bench warrant be issued against him, a move that has prompted the actor to seek an amicable resolution of the matter out of court.
In an oral application he tendered through his counsel, Mrs Esther Uzoma, Jim Iyke, who told the court that he was mobbed in Cameroun when he went for a video shoot, said his inability to appear for trial was owing to the fact that he was receiving treatment at Cidar Press Hospital in Abuja.
“Your worship, I wish to bring to your notice that my client, James Ikechukwu Esomugha, known as Jim Iyke, is presently in hospital, as it stands presently, he is not fit to stand his trial as the constitution requires, if this court is doubting me, I can quickly rush to the hospital to get a medical report or better still, the court can investigate the matter by itself.
“He was mobbed in Cameroun when he went for a video shoot last week, moreover, both parties are making efforts to reconcile the case out of court”, she added.
Not satisfied with the explanation, Police lawyer, Inspector Danjuma Ebune, described it as a deliberate ploy to frustrate the trial.
The prosecution said he had produced three witnesses to testify against the accused person, insisting that police was not ready to settle the case out of court.
Consequently, Magistrate Okeagu ordered the accused to ensure that he is in court on April 17 when the case was subsequently adjourned to, or risk arrest.
Meantime, Saturday Vanguard can exclusively report that in his bid to settle the case out of court, the embattled actor has tendered a written apology to the manager of the company who he was said to have beaten up.
A copy of the letter which was made available to Vanguard by his lawyer, Mrs Esther, reads: “I Jim Iyke Esomugha sincerely apologize to Hajia Habiba Abubakar, her family and my family; the Esomugha family for the pain and embarrassment the court case and ensuing publications in the press may have caused her, her family and my family.
“Hajia Habiba Abubakar is a good friend of my family and a business associate and our families have agreed to settle all lingering issues out of court.”