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.
The court document reads in part: “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.
But the defence counsel, Anthony Popo and Sam Etaifo urged the court to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.
While moving the bail application on behalf of Abebe, Popo told the judge that the matter before her is a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant, which he is ready to settle out of court.
He also claimed that Abebe had paid back the sums of $100,000 and N30million to the complainant and had also deposited the title document of 26 acres of land and the documents of a property in London to show his seriousness to resolve the matter.
The lawyer further submitted that the defendant would not jump bail since he never violated the terms of the administrative bail granted to him by the EFCC.
The prosecutor did not oppose the application but urged the court to impose stringent terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court for their trial.
Justice Abike-decision Fadipe allowed the first defendant to be released on bail in the amount of N20 million with one surety in the same amount.
She stipulated that the surety must reside in Lagos and that the title deed for a land property must have a minimum value of N20 million.