Connect with us

NATIONAL

Property Fraud: Badagry Prince, Semasa James Sentence To Prison

Published

on

A Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sentence a Badagry Prince, Semasa James to a year imprisonment for uttering documents while administrating the estate of his father, late Oba Afolabi James of Kweme land, Badagry.

Semasa was charged alongside his personal assistant Afolabi Kazeem.

He is accused of defrauding his 26 siblings of N500million inheritance while administering the estate of the deceased king.

The Badagry prince is facing a seven-count charge of forgery, uttering of false document and fraudulent disposal of trust property proffered against him by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force.

His personal assistant faced a charge of receiving stolen property.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in her judgment found Semasa not guilty of the charges of forgery and fraudulent disposal of trust property noting that the prosecution failed to proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Taiwo found the royal prince guilty of three-counts of uttering of a false documents and sentenced him to a year in prison on each count which is to run concurrently or an option of N450,000 fine.

Read Also: Police Arraigns Airebun Siblings Over N5m Property Fraud

She said: “Based on the oral and documentary evidence, I find that the prosecution failed prove the three-counts of stealing beyond reasonable doubt.

“I find the defendant guilty of uttering a false document.

“I find the first defendant not guilty of fraudulent disposal of trust property.

“I find the second defendant (Kazeem) not guilty of receiving stolen property as the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the said N2million was stolen and he received same knowing it was stolen.

“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to one-year imprisonment or N450,000 fine.”

Prior to convicting and sentencing the first defendant, the judge had said that the case could have been resolved amicably in the family without the warring princes and princesses resorting to litigation.

“It is unfortunate that such a problem cannot be resolved amicably, instead of washing of the family their dirty linen in public.

“One wonders what legacy the elders in the family are leaving behind for the younger ones.

“It is suggested by the court that the family wipes clean the slate and start afresh,” she said

The judge suggested that avoid future strife, the family should appoint more administrators to administer the estate of late Oba Afolabi James.

Taiwo said that the administrators should be transparent to the beneficiaries of the estate and a neutral body should also manage the account of the estate and open fresh books and records to avoid mismanagement funds.

Also Reads: Alleged N200m Theft: Firm Director Uses Access Bank Online Platform

In his allocutus (plea for mercy) the defence counsel, Mr Martins Oyigbo asked the court to temper justice with mercy.

“He is a first time offender my lord and he had no intention of defrauding the family.

“My lord should please give an option of fine as the family will take the advice of the court and resolve the matter amicably,” Oyigbo said.

During the trial, the 12 witnesses testified for the prosecution while six witnesses testified for the defence.

According to the SFU prosecutor, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi, Semasa had fraudulently converted N500 million property belonging to the late king, between 2000 and 2017 in Lagos.

The prosecution alleged that Semasa fraudulently sold a property located at Plot 1440, Ilesanmi St., Itire Road, Surulere, Lagos to a private individual.

He was accused of illegally leasing another property located Plot 282 Ajose Adeogun St., Victoria Island, Lagos to Ecobank Plc.

Semasa also allegedly forged some purchase receipts of his late fathers property as well as the signature of the late king on the Corporate Affairs Commission documents of CAJ Industrial Enterprises.

Also, the SFU said that Kazeems had allegedly received stolen estate funds from the first defendant.

Kazeem is alleged to have connived with Semasa to defraud the beneficiaries of the late kings estate of N150 million, which was part of the proceeds of sale of a property located at Dideolu Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

CRIME

N25.7 Billion Bank Fraud: Court Convicts Francis Atuche

N25.7 Billion Bank Fraud, Court Convicts former Managing Director of Bank PHB, now Keystone Bank, Francis Atuche and his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu

Published

on

By

A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentence the former Managing Director of Bank PHB, now Keystone Bank, Francis Atuche to six years imprisonment over N25.7 billion fraud charges.

Delivering judgement after 13hours long analysis of the each count charge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu found Atuche and his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu guilty as charge.

She sentence Anyanwu to four years imprisonment on each count charge consecutively.

They were convicted for 21 out 27 counts charges.

The judge however discharged and acquitted Atuche’s wife noting that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy allegations levelled against her in the charges.

The judge noted that Atuche abused his position of trust by stealing from the bank.

“By stealing from the bank, they stole from innocent customers.

“I hereby make an Order of restitution against the first and third defendants to refund the sums stated in counts one to 11, 14 and 24.

Also Read: N450m Money Laundering: Bulama Others To Face Fresh Trial

“The sums are to paid to the relevant agencies that recovered funds on behalf of the bank.

Justine Okunnu said Atuche and Anyanwu were able to defraud Bank PHB of billions of Naira using well recognised stock brokers to transfer money belonging to the bank under the guise of loans and shares.

“It was a well planned, well executed scheme but the bubble burst when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened” she noted.

The judge also noted that a large volume of documentary evidence was produced by parties in the case.

She said documents such as bank records, emails and the statements of key actors in the case played a key role in securing the conviction of the defendants.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2011 arraigned Atuche, his wife and the then financial officer of the moribund bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, over the alleged fraud.

The commission in the charge sheet which was read to the former bank executives alleged that they committed the offence between November 2007 and September 2008.

Read Also: Baba Ijesha Saga: Lagos Reiterate Zero Tolerance To Child Molestation

EFCC alleged that the accused persons sold 241, 579, 284 units of Afribank shares, a joint property of Caverton Helicopters Ltd, and Bank PHB Plc and converted the proceeds for their personal use.

The three accused persons were alleged to have fraudulently converted some of the stolen money into loans to Congipar Nig. Ltd and using same for their personal use.

The EFCC claims the alleged offences contravene Sections 516 and 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C17, Laws of Lagos State, 2003. .

In the charge against Atuche’s wife Elizabeth, she was alleged to have stolen N8.5 billion belonging to the bank between November, 2007 and April, 2008.

The EFCC alleged that Mrs Atuche fraudulently converted the proceeds of several loans for the acquisition of 337,500,000 and 168,750,000 units of Bank PHB shares on behalf of Ghazali Yakubu Investment Limited and AFCO Associates Limited.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 519 and 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C17, Laws of Lagos State 2003.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

You May Also Like: Alleged N1bn Fraud: Access Bank Staff, Accountant Must Face Trial – LASG

After about three years into the trial, Atuche and co-defendants approached Court of Appeal to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.

In a judgement delivered in September 2016, the Appellate Court stopped the lower court from going ahead with the trial.

The appellate court also failed to quash the charges against Atuche, his wife and others but ordered Justice Okunnu to hands off the trial.

The appellate court further directed the Chief Judge of Lagos State to re-assign the case to another judge.

Following the decision of the court of appeal, the EFCC approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and order trial in the matter.

In an unanimous decision, the apex court overturned the decision of the appellate court.

The panel agreed that the lower court’s decisions on the matter was “perverse” and, therefore ought to be set aside.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who prepared and read the lead judgment of the apex court, said the order which the Court of Appeal made on September 23, 2016, for the remittance of case to the Lagos State Chief Judge for the purpose of re-assigning the case to another judge, was not aimed at serving the interest of justice.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

CRIME

Sexual Assault: Magistrate Denies Baba Ijesha Bail for Lack of Jurisdiction

Sexual Assault: Magistrate Denies Baba Ijesha Bail for Lack of Jurisdiction to hear a similar matter pending at the state High Court

Published

on

By

The Police have arraigned embattled Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, before a Lagos State Chief Magistrate Court in Yaba over the sexual assault case against him.

Baba Ijesha has been under media trial since April 22, 2021, when the Lagos State Police Command announced his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the care of popular comedienne, Adekola Adekanya, otherwise called Princess.

The Police were unable to institute charges against him in court due to the industrial action embarked on by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN.

As the judicial workers called off their strike last week and resumes activities yesterday, Baba Ijesha was brought to court today for the hearing of the case.

Read Also: Lagos Set to Replace Igbosere High Court With Digitalize Court

Baba Ijesha who pleaded not guilty to the charges was however denied bail due to lack of jurisdiction because the state government through Department of Public Prosecutions, DPP, had filed same case at the High court.

He was charged with indecent treatment of a child, defilement of a child, sexual assault by penetration, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault – which contravenes Sections 135, 137, 261, 202, 262 and 263 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.

The Prosecutor S. A Adebesin informed the court that an information had been filed before the High Court.

Responding Baba Ijesha lawyer, Kayode Olabiran made a fresh application for bail of the Mr. Olanrewaju.

In a short ruling, the Magistrate noted that Baba Ijesha will remain in detention till he would be tried at the High Court.

Magistrate Nwaka directed that full medical attention should be accorded to the actor who had complained about his state of health when dock.

Also Read: Bank Boss, Atuche, Knows Faith Today Over N25.7 Billion Fraud

The matter was thereafter adjourned till July 21 for further directives.

Baba Ijesha colleagues like Yomi Fabiyi and other supporters as well as family members were seeing in court in solidarity with him

Fabiyi, while speaking with reporters, said, “I am in court because I believe in the rule of law and I have right to come to the court and observe the case.

“The young man is my colleague; I cannot deny him at this stage, I am too refined for that.

Continue Reading

BUSINESS

Bank Boss, Atuche, Knows Faith Today Over N25.7 Billion Fraud

Bank Boss of the defunct PHB, Francis Atuche, knows faith today over alleged N25.7 Billion Fraud level against him by the EFCC before Ikeja High Court after three years of trial.

Published

on

By

Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja is currently reading judgement in the N25.7 billion fraud suit against former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc Francis Atuche, and his wife Elizabeth.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2011 arraigned Atuche, his wife and the then financial officer of the moribund bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, over the alleged fraud.

After about three years into the trial, Atuche and co-defendants approached Court of Appeal to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.

In a judgement delivered in September 2016, the Appellate Court stopped the lower court from going ahead with the trial.

The appellate court also failed to quash the charges against Atuche, his wife and others but ordered Justice Okunnu to hands off the trial.

Read Also: Conman, Emmanuel Nwude Open Defense in Fraud Trial

The appellate court further directed the Chief Judge of Lagos State to re-assign the case to another judge.

Following the decision of the court of appeal, the EFCC approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and order trial in the matter.

In an unanimous decision, the apex court overturned the decision of the appellate court.

The panel agreed that the lower court’s decisions on the matter was “perverse” and, therefore ought to be set aside.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who prepared and read the lead judgment of the apex court, said the order which the Court of Appeal made on September 23, 2016, for the remittance of case to the Lagos State Chief Judge for the purpose of re-assigning the case to another judge, was not aimed at serving the interest of justice.

Continue Reading

Trending