INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS STALL FORGERY TRIAL OF JOHN ABEBE
Court, on Wednesday, was unable to sit over the forgery trial of John Abebe, younger brother of former first lady, Stella Obasanjo as a result of the provision of incomplete documents by a defence witness.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the suit was charged against Mr. Abebe by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The trial stalled because the defence counsel, Oritsematosan Nabuyaka, Head, Registry Department, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), failed to present a complete set of documents necessary for Abebe’s defence.
Mr. Nabuyaka, a subpoenaed witness, explained to the court that the documents provided were the only ones he was able to produce due to insufficient time.
Mrs. Nabuyaka, who was led in evidence by defence counsel, Ushe Nwokedi, said she brought before the court certificate of incorporation of BP Nig. Ltd. and certificate of incorporation of Statoil Nig. Ltd.
According to the witness, the remaining documents include Certificate of Change of Name of Statoil to Equinox Nig. Ltd., Memorandum and Articles of Association of PB Nig. Ltd. and Form Co7 of BP Nigeria Exploration Ltd.
“This was what was transmitted to me from the head office.
“By the time the head office was able to transmit page eight, we did not have ample time,” the CAC Assistant Director said.
While expressing displeasure at the development, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, urged the court to graciously give them more time for the trial.
Meanwhile the trial has now been adjourned by Justice Mojisola Dada for continuation on August 15.
NAN reports that Mr. Abebe had on July 26, 2018 pleaded not guilty to a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the cause of justice.
However, EFCC claimed that the offences were committed by the defendant on June 22, 2010 in Lagos.
“Abebe knowingly forged PB Exploration Nig. Ltd. letter dated November 30, 1995, to Inducon (Nig.) Ltd.
“He committed the forgery by inserting in page two of the said letter, the following words: ‘Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the Net Profit Interest Agreement (NPIA). The $4 million buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields’.
“He purported same to have been issued by PB Exploration Nig. Ltd.,” Mr. Oyedepo said.