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.