The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday filed an accusation of fraud against Dr. John Abebe, the younger brother of Stella Obasanjo, a former First Lady, before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja.
Abebe was charged with six counts of conspiracy, theft, and acquiring money by deception along with Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, a former head of Firstbank Plc's United Kingdom Correspondent Office.
Part of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing the sum of N120 million worth of property of Arsenal Technologies Limited.”
“That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining by false pretence the sum of N120 million property of Arsenal Technologies Limited under the pretence that your property lying being and situate at 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos State, which you pledged as the security to the Arsenal Technologies Limited was unencumbered, which representation you knew to be false.”
“That you Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and to gain for yourself the sum of $1,000,000.00 or its Naira equivalent from Arsenal Technologies Limited by false pretence to procure the execution of valuable security to wit; a deed of assignment between Inducon Nigeria Limited and Arsenal Technologies Limited, wherein you falsely claimed that the property lying being and situate at No. 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos was unencumbered and that you have full powers to assign and transfer the said property to the assignor; Arsenal Technologies Limited.
The crimes committed, according to the EFCC, are against Sections 280(1), (12), 8 (7), 285(1), and 278(1)(b) of the Lagos State Criminal Laws of 2011.
However, the accused entered a not guilty plea to the accusation.
After the defendants entered a plea, the prosecutor, Sulaimon, pleaded with the court to set a trial date and confine the defendants in the care of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing and resolution of the matter.
Sam Etaifo and Anthony Popo, the defence attorneys, sought the court to set the terms of the bail for their clients as lenient as possible.
Popo informed the judge that he is willing to settle the case out of court because it is a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant when he moved the bail application on behalf of Abebe.
He added that Abebe had repaid the complainant the sums of $100,000 and N30 million and had also deposited the title documents for 26 acres of land and the paperwork for a house in London to demonstrate his sincerity in resolving the issue.
The defence attorney added that the defendant would not break the terms of the administrative bail set by the EFCC since he never did.
Although the prosecution did not object to the application, they encouraged the judge to impose strict conditions that would guarantee the defendant's attendance at their trial.
Justice Abike-decision Fadipe's allowed the first defendant to post bail in the amount of N20 million with one surety in the same amount.
She stipulated that the surety must reside in Lagos and must deposit a land title document with a value of at least N20m.
The second defendant was also granted bail by the judge in the amount of N10 million with one surety in the same amount who had to be a state resident.
The defendant was also instructed by Justice Abike-Fadipe to continue to enjoy the administrative bail that had previously been granted to them by the EFCC, but if they failed to comply with the conditions of that bail after seven days, they would be arrested and remanded in jail.
She delayed the matter to December 6 for commencement of trial.