Alleged N10Bn Fraud: Court adjourns Paul Ozigbu’s trial to July 14 for continuation
A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday adjourned to July 14 for continuation of trial of Chief Paul Ozigbu who facing ten count charges for alleged forgery and N10 billion fraud.
Trial court judge, Donatus Okorowo adjourned the matter to enable the court attend to other matters after the defendant Paul Ozigbu testified for about three hours on Tuesday.
During the Tuesday trial the court admitted the minutes of Eze Ala family meeting as exhibit in addition to three other exhibits that were admitted on Monday. Justice Okorowo while admitting the minutes as exhibit,ruled that it was for its relevance.He asked the prosecution counsel who vehemently opposed the photo copy of the minutes that was not a certified true copy of the document, to address the court in his final written address.
Paul Ozigbu further told the court that Ozigbu Engineering Company limited does not own any moveable assets or fixed assets. “The company does not own any money in bank . So it is absolutely untrue I took over assets worth N5bn”, he stated.
He said that upon the death of his father Chief Hilary Ozigbu, he shared his late father assets and gave his siblings a good number of the assets.
The defendant had said on Monday that the Ozigbu Engineering Company limited Board’ resolution that made his wife Ngozi Ozigbu and his son who are at large as directors were not registered at Cooperate Affairs Commission,CAC .
Paul is standing trial over allegations of forgery, criminal conspiracy and illegal conversion of family properties into personal use amongst others.
According to the charge, he was alleged to have forged landed property documents of their late father, Nze Ike Hilary Ozigbu, in order to takeover ownership of family properties and company.
He however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
At Monday’s proceedings, Chief Ikata, led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr C.Menkiti the witness, Chief Akata had told the court that late Nze Ike Ozigbu whose property is in centre of the dispute between the defendant and his three other siblings, was his confidant.
He claimed that when the forgery case was reported at the police station, he was not invited and did not make any statement in regards to the power of attorney late Ozigbu gave him.
He said that one of the properties listed in the power of attorney is number 16 Aba – Port Harcourt Express highway but, under cross examination by the prosecution counsel Dr.Joseph Nwadike, the witness said it is an address of a company.
Under further cross examination the witness said that late Ozigbu gave him the power of attorney on the property and he signed it, adding that the late chief Ozigbu invited him to his house where he signed the document after studying it.
But counsel doubted the signature and the document and applied under Section 101 sub sections (1) and (2)of the evidence Act for the witness’ finger signature to be sent for forensic analysis. Although the prayer was refused but the finger signature was admitted and marked as exhibit E.
Still under cross examination the witness Chief Akata said that he hailed from same village with late Chief Ozigbu who had four children as follows in seniority: Paul Ozigbu, Peter Ozigbu, Mrs Stella Oga and Uche Ozigbu.
The defendant, Paul Ozigbu also yesterday began his testimony as he claimed he did not forged Ozigbu Engineering Company documents nor the signature of Hon Dr Ifeyinwa.
He said that Ozigbu Engineering Company Board Resolution 2021 that made his wife Mrs Ngozi Ozigbu and son directors of the company was not registered with the CAC.
The trial continues on Tuesday, May 16.2023. Paul in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/239/2020, was alleged to have forged Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documents, and Power of Attorney of his late father, Nze Hilary Ozigbu and obtained family property by falsehood.
He was also accused alongside one Ngozi Ozigbu and David Ozigbu, now at large to have at different times fraudulently obtained various sums of money amounting to N10.40 billion.
He was also accused of forging the signature of late Engineer Hillary Ozigbu and used same to effect the change of Directors of the company, known as Ozigbu Engineering Company Limited.
The charge stated that the defendant committed an offence contrary to section 1(2)(c) of Miscellaneous Offences Cap M17, Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
APM’S petition against my election is dead , it died May 26, Tinubu tells Court.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja informed the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that the petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) against him and his Vice, Kashim Shetima victory is dead by the Supreme Court decision on May 26, 2023.
Tinubu said that the main issues raised by the petitioner queried ‘place holder’ by Kabir Masari and Vice President Kashim Shettima’s alleged double nomination and that the issues have been resolved by the Supreme Court last Friday in a judgment in the suit marked SC/CV/501/23 between the People’s Democratic Party PDP Vs INEC and 3 others.
He gave the information at the resumed hearing through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN , on Tuesday. He disclosed that the PDP’S case had resolved the grievances brought before the Court by the Allied People’s Movement.
Recall that the Supreme Court had on Friday held that PDP, or any other parties, have no right to poke nose into how other parties conducted their primary elections and nominated their candidates.
The Apex Court while dismissing PDP’S case described the party as busy body and meddle some interloper and imposed a fine of N2M on the party for meddling into the internal affairs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Olanipekun argued that the APM’S petition was similar to the case taken to Supreme Court by PDP that was dismissed on the grounds that PDP has no locus standi (legal right) to bring the action in the first place.
He submitted that the APM’S petition is predicted on internal affairs of the APC and that the Supreme Court’s latest judgment had taken life out of the petition.
He promised to make a copy of the judgment available within two days to the Court for perusal on the effects on the APM’S Petition.
Counsel to the APM, Mr Sheu Abubakar said he has not seen the judgment the respondents counsel was referring to and requested for adjournment in the hearing of the petition based on the submissions and revelations of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who stood for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Abubakar Mahmoud SAN who appeared for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not object to the request for adjournment sought by the APM.
Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani granted the request for adjournment and shifted hearing till Friday, June 2.
Fuel Subsidy: Osun Govt threatens to seal stations hoarding petrol
The government of Osun state has warned filling stations against hoarding petroleum products in the state.In a statement signed by the state’s governor spokesman, Olawale Rasheed on Tuesday, the govt threatened to seal filling stations found guilty and prosecute the operators.The removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural speech at Eagle Square on Monday, immediately after he was sworn in.“Any fuel station found guilty of hoarding fuel to create artificial scarcity shall be sealed off and operators prosecuted for the crime of economic sabotage,” Adeleke said.It added that the removal of fuel subsidy by Tinubu has caused unnecessary hardship for the people of the state.“This deliberate action is not only inhumane but unpatriotic and will not be allowed by the government. To this end, the Special Monitoring Team on fuel scarcity set up by His Excellency, Governor Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke headed by the Chief of Staff, Hon Kazeem Akinleye is still effective and shall not condone any form of economic sabotage.“As from today, May 30, 2023, the Committee shall begin special monitoring of all the filling stations across the state in collaboration with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders,” it added.However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has supported the decision of Tinubu on the removal of fuel subsidy.The head of the company, Mele Kyari explained that the company had been spending a significant portion of its profits on the product subsidy.However, he assured Nigerians that there was no need for panic buying as the company had enough product to supply the country for the next 30 days.
Fuel Hike: Tinubu’s thoughtless announcement responsible – Sowore
Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in the February 25 presidential election has lashed out at President Bola Tinubu. This followed Tinubu’s decision to end fuel subsidy. Reacting to the resurfacing of queues, Sowore said that Tinubu’s “thoughtless fuel subsidy removal announcement triggered fuel scarcity and price gouging all over the country.” Recall that marketers and operators have increased petrol pump prices to N210-N500 per litre, following the confirmation of fuel subsidies removal by Tinubu’s administration. In a post via his verified Twitter handle on Tuesday, Sowore claimed that the nation’s elites don’t care about Nigerians. He wrote, “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu @officialABAT thoughtless fuel subsidy removal announcement has already triggered fuel scarcity and price gouging all over Nigeria. This is why Nigerians must understand that nothing good will come out the Nigerian Elite-in and out- of power. They’re always after you. They don’t care about you! #Revolutionnow.”
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