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EFCC Clamps Down on Ex-Banker Younger Brother to Late Stella Obasanjo for Fraud

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EFCC Clamps Down on Ex-Banker Younger Brother to Late Stella Obasanjo

By Uche Amunike

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arraigned Dr John Abebe, ex-banker and younger brother of the late former First Lady of Nigeria, Stella Obasanjo, at the Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja, on Monday, for allegations of Fraud.

Dr Abebe was arraigned with a former head of First Bank Plc, United Kingdom Correspondence Office, Kamoru Alade Oladimeji on a six-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretenses and stealing, before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe.

The counts against the defendants partly read: ‘That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing the sum of N120 million worth of property of Arsenal Technologies Limited.’

‘That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining by false pretence the sum of N120 million property of Arsenal Technologies Limited under the pretence that your property lying being and situate at 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos State, which you pledged as the security to the Arsenal Technologies Limited was unencumbered, which representation you knew to be false.’

‘That you Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and to gain for yourself the sum of $1,000,000.00 or its Naira equivalent from Arsenal Technologies Limited by false pretence to procure the execution of valuable security to wit; a deed of assignment between Inducon Nigeria Limited and Arsenal Technologies Limited, wherein you falsely claimed that the property lying being and situate at No. 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos was unencumbered and that you have full powers to assign and transfer the said property to the assignor; Arsenal Technologies Limited.’

Even though the EFCC stated that the offenses committed by them go contrary to Sections 280(1), (12), 8(7), 285(1) and 278(1)(b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges. As a result, the prosecutor appealed to the court to fix a date for their trial and have them remanded at the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing and determination of the charge.

On their parts, the defense counsel, Anthony Popo and Sam Etaifo made a plea to the court to grant their clients bail in very liberal terms, stating that the case at hand was a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant, adding that they were ready to settle out of court.

He also claimed that the embattled in-law of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Abebe, had already paid back the sums of $100,000 and N30 million to the complainant, aside from depositing the title document of 26 acres of land and the documents of a property in London to prove his commitment to resolving the matter, adding that he would not jump bail because he never violated the conditions of the administrative bail granted him by the anti-graft agency.

He urged the court to impose stringent terms that will see that the defendants appear in court for their trial.

Justice Abuja-Fadipe ruled that the first defendant be granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum, adding that the surety must be resident in Lagos and must bring a title document of a land property valued at N20m, while the second defendant will be bailed in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum and must be resident in Lagos, as well.

She instructed that the defendant shall still enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted the by the EFCC. However, if by seven days, they do not perfect their bail conditions, they shall be arrested and remanded in prison.

Their case was adjourned to December 6 when their trial will begin.

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