The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday arraigned a former military administrator of Bayelsa State, Lt. Colonel Paul Edor Obi (rtd), before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for alleged fraud and forgery.
Obi, who was military administrator of Bayelsa State from July 1998 to May 1999 during the transitional regime of Abdulsalami Abubakar, was arraigned alongside two others, Felix Onyakhamoh, a former staff of Oceanic Bank, and one Adewale Mesioye, The Nation reports.
The trio were arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery, and possession and use of false documents before Justice Mojisola Dada.
The EFCC arraigned the defendants over alleged forgery and possession of fraudulent documents.
They, however, pleaded not guilty to all charges.
During the proceeding, the anti-graft agency told the court the alleged offences were committed sometime in 2021 in Lagos.
EFCC prosecuting counsel, 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.”
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 and titled: “A petition against some directors and company secretary of Dreamworld Leisure Limited”.
The petition stated ìn part, ” 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”)…”
EFCC prosecuting counsel, Ofoma urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody while requesting for 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 center.
The defence counsel argued that the offence is bailable and the defendants were not a flight risk.
Imolode further informed the court that one of the defendants was a former military 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 granted the prayers of the defence counsel and released all the defendants on bail.
The judge thereafter adjourned the matter till May 24 for trial.