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Businessman, Lawyer Docked Over N230m Fraud

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San Francisco, Nov 09, (THEWILL) - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC today arraigned a businessman, Mr. John Rotimi Omotosho and his lawyer, Audu Abdulmumuni before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos over conspiracy, forgery and attempt to defraud a company of about N230 million.

The accused persons who were arraigned before Justice S.A Onigbanjo of the Ikeja court however pleaded not guilty when the 9-count criminal charge was read to them.

According to the charges filed against the duo by the EFCC, their trouble began when Omotosho conspired with his lawyer, Audu to forge some documents of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, which he sent to Zenith Bank PLC with the claim that he owns 50 percent equity share in Junot Construction Company.

In his letter to the bank with the forged CAC documents attached, Omotosho was said to have claimed that he is the chairman of the firm, and equally directed the bank not to honour any cheque from the company without his signature.

As a result, the bank was said to have contacted the managing director of the company, Engr Ike Ochiaghe on January 28, 2010 to confirm the authenticity of the letter from the fake chairman. This led the company to petition EFCC for investigation.

In the course of investigation, it was discovered that Junot Construction Company had gotten a contract worth about N1 billion from NEPA to supply transformers and other equipments. The company was said to have subsequently hired Omotosho as a sub-contractor to handle the clearing and transportation of the equipment.

Investigations further revealed that prior to the move by Omotosho to claim the ownership of the firm, NEPA had paid N50 million and another 800,000 euros into the company’s account in Zenith Bank.

The discovery led to the arrest of Omotosho and Audu who facilitated the forgery of the CAC documents on May 12, 2010 after which they were granted administrative bail which they enjoyed until their arraignment today.

After taking their plea today, the accused applied for bail which was opposed by the prosecution counsel, Musiliu Hassan. The trial judge, Justice Onigbanjo however granted the accused bail on some conditions.

While Omotosho is to produce a N1million bail bond and the CofO of his property in addition to the submission of his travel documents to the EFCC, Audu is to surrender the originals of his degree and Call to Bar certificates as well as a letter of guaranty from the Abuja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.

Justice Onigbanjo who adjourned the case to December 8 for trial also ordered that the accused persons be remanded in EFCC custody pending when they meet their bail conditions.