Two lawyers, EmmanueI IIechukwu and Rowand Kalu, have been arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, over alleged fraud and forgery. The two defendants, who have 29years experience each as a legal practitioner, were arraigned along Emmanuel Nwude, an alleged fraud kingpin.
They were dragged before the court on 15 count charge bordering on ‘conspiracy to forge contrary to Section 516 of Criminal Code Law, Cap C17, Laws of Lagos Stat, 2003.
According to the charge, the three defendants ‘on or about 12th day of January, 2011 at Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division conspired to forge a Power of Attorney issued in the name of Mankris Venture Limited purporting that Mankris Ventures Limited is the owner of plot Y, Moboaj Johnson street, Oreegun, Alasa, Lagos, whereas you knew that the property was forfeited to the victims of crimes as restitution in the judgement delivered on 18th Novmber 2005 by Hon. Justice Oyewole in ID/2cl/04, FRN V Emmanuel Nwude and 6 Ors and the victims subsequently sold the property to Rossab Industrial Design Limited which later assigned to G.C. Nweze and Company Limited.”
The charge further stated that the defendants ‘knowingly and fraudulently uttered a forged Power of Attorney on January 26, 2011 dated January 12,2011,’ made ‘document without authority contrary to Section 473(1) of Criminal Code Law of Lagos State, deal with forfeited property without authorization contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Economic and Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004.
Other alleged offences were ‘transfer of forfeiture property to nominees contrary to Section 17 of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, making false statement to public officer contrary to Section 96 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, conspiracy to pervert cause of justice, fabricating evidence, and giving false testimony under oath.’
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to all the charge.
Counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants (lawyers) urged the court to grant them bail on self-recognition, arguing that the defendants are both lawyers with 29 years experiences each ‘without blemishes whatsoever.’
He further argued that since the ‘defendants have no valid international and have been at the custody of EFCC for 11years, they will not jump bail.’ In the event they were denied bail, he urged the court to remand them in EFCC custody.
He also urged the court to grant the 1st defendant (Nwude) bail because ‘ he is suffering from prostate canCer and will go for surgery on March 8, 2018
The prosecution counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, in his argument disagreed that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody. He argued that ‘the law is clear that once a defendant takes his plea, he should be remanded in prison custody.’
“As for bail, this is a criminal matter. The essence of bail is to ensure the defendant stand his trial. In the event the court wants to grant them bail, the conditions should be the one that will make them stand trial and not jump bail,” he said.
The judge thereafter granted the 2nd and 3rd defendants bail in the sum of ‘N200,000 with sureties in like sum, owner of a property within Lagos metropolis, two years tax clearance, a sworn affidavit, ‘while the defendants must submit their call to the Bar certificate
The matter was adjourned till March 6 for hearing of bail application of the 1st defendant and March 14 for trial
The court ordered they be remanded in prison custody till when they will perfect their bails.
Lawyers, Nwude docked over alleged forgery, remands in prison custody