Lt Colonel (Rtd) Paul Obi, 2 others arraigned over alleged fraud

Lt. Colonel (retired) Paul Edor Obi, who was an Administrator of Bayelsa State, Nigeria from July 1998 to May 1999 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was yesterday arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos over an alleged fraud.

The Retired administrator was charged alongside two others: Felix Onyakhamoh, a former staff of Oceanic Bank, and one Adewale Mesioye.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned the trio over allegations of forgery and possession of fraudulent documents.

The three defendants were docked on an eleven count charge of conspiracy, forgery, and possession and use of false document.

The trio, however, pleaded not guilty to all count charges.

During the proceeding yesterday, while the charges were being read, the antigraft agency told the court the alleged offences were committed sometime in 2021 in Lagos.

The anti-graft agency, through its prosecuting Counsel, Mr Franklin Ofoma, stated that the defendants, with intent to defraud, knowingly forged a form CAC 2A Return of Allotment of Dreamworld Leisures Limited.

Part of the charges read, “Paul obi, Onyakhamoh and Mesioye sometime in 2021 in Lagos, with intent to defraud knowingly forged a documents title ‘The Federal Republic of Nigeria companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 Company Limited By Shares, Special Resolution of DreamWorld Leisure Limited Dated 10th day of September 2020.

“Paul obi, Onyakhamoh and Mesioye, sometimes in 2022 in Lagos, with intent to defraud knowingly used a false document titled ‘The Federal Republic of Nigeria companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 Company Limited By Shares, Special Resolution of DreamWorld Leisure Limited dated 10th day of September 2020 at the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“Paul obi, Onyakhamoh and Mesioye, with intent to defraud knowingly forged a documents titled ‘Deed of Surrender dated 11th day of November 2020’ purporting the said document to have emanated from Oceanic bank international PLC”.

Also, the charges were sequel to a petition signed on behalf of UFC International Limited and Wemtab Limited, both of whom are Shareholders of Dreamworld Leisure limited, dated March 26, 2021 titled: “a petition against some directors and company secretary of Dreamworld Leisure Limited”.

The petition stated: “It recently came to our clients notice that sometime in November 2020, conspirators caused to be filed at the CAC on 17 November 2020 a return a allotment form (Form CAC 2A) dated 14 September 2020, purportedly evidencing the allotment to various persons of (a) 77, 500, 000 ordinary shares previously held by Oceanic Bank International Plc (Oceanic Bank”) in the company (the “Oceanic Shares”)…”

The EFCC Counsel further urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody, while requesting a trial date.

But the Defence counsel, Lawrence Imolode, prayed the court to take custody of the defendants instead of remanding them at the correctional service center.

The defence Counsel argued that the offence is a bailable offence and defendants were not a flight risk.

Imolode further informed the court that one of the defendants was a former administrator in Nigeria and another is a Regional bank manager, and therefore would not evade trial.

The defence lawyer also tendered his call to bar certificate in bid to reassure the court of producing the defendants for trial on the next adjourned date.

Justice Dada, however, granted the prayers of the defence Counsel and released all three defendants to him.

The judge thereafter adjourned the matter till May 24 for trial.

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