HomeNewsLawyer and Three Others Face Trial for Alleged Forgery of Property Documents

Lawyer and Three Others Face Trial for Alleged Forgery of Property Documents

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A lawyer and three others are facing trial at a federal high court in Abuja for allegedly forging documents of a property in Gwarinpa, Abuja, and defrauding a woman of N29 million. The police accused them of producing a fake deed of assignment, offer letter, power of attorney, and other receipts in respect of the property belonging to another person. The lawyer, Everistus Ugwuowo, 39, and his accomplices, Umar Adamu, 41, Usman Audu, 49, and Adole Christopher, 29, were charged with 11 counts of forgery, conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretenses, and issuing a dishonored cheque. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The police said they acted without lawful authority to sell House 11, 662 Road, Gwarinpa 2 Estate, Abuja, a property owned by one Mr Grema Umar. They allegedly deceived Mrs Grace Audu, who reported the case to the police, that they had the authority to sell the house. The police said the offenses contravened sections of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 Law of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004. They also said the lawyer issued a dishonored cheque when he was asked to return the money he collected from Mrs Audu.

The case has been adjourned till Nov. 2, when the court will rule on a preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction to hear the matter. The counsel to the second defendant, Ebuka Agwu, argued that the police had no legal backing to file such a case before the court. He said it was only the Attorney-General of the Federation who had such powers. He cited sections 104–106 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to support his argument. The counsel for the other defendants also aligned themselves with his submission.

The counsel to the first defendant, Yomi Olokeogun, told the court that his client was on admission in the hospital due to high blood pressure and could not attend the trial. He presented a medical report from the hospital as evidence and pleaded with the court to use its discretion.

The prosecution counsel urged the court to reject the medical report, saying it did not come from a certified government hospital. He also urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection, saying there had been frivolous adjournments since the beginning of the trial. The case is one of many involving alleged forgery and fraud in Nigeria’s real estate sector. According to experts, there is a need for more regulation and transparency in property transactions to protect buyers and sellers from unscrupulous agents and lawyers.

Source: The Guardian

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