Alleged Forgery: EFCC Cross Examines Defence Witness

The ongoing trial of two nationals of Benin Republic, Gnanhouse Sorou Nazaire and Zenou Modeste before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos continued today, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 as the second defence witness gave his evidence.

In a four-count charge, the duo were charged for alleged forgery and uttering of forged document, an offence contrary to Section 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Cap. C17, laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.

They however pleaded not guilty to the charge as preferred against them by the EFCC.

A statement issued by the Spokesman of the EFCC, Tony Orilade said one of the charges reads: “That you Gnanhouse Sourou Nazaire and Zenou Modeste on or about the 28th day of May, 2017, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: forgery of Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd’s ordinary resolution dated the 28th day of May, 2017 which you purported to have been signed by one Madam Rashidatou.”

At the resumed hearing today, the defence witness, Ferdinand Egede, a legal practitioner who was subpoenaed, was led in evidence by the defence counsel to the defendants, Odubela Shansuddean, SAN, told the court how he incorporated Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd. for the first defendant, Gnanhouse Sorou Nazaire and his wife, Madam Abdul Rashidatou.

Egede explained that, “Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd. is one of the companies I incorporated for Gnanhouse and his wife, Rashidatou upon the couple’s request.

“Initially, the first and second defendants were into selling of hair attachments and hair materials and subsequently they both briefed me to incorporate the company for them which I did.

“Subsequently, Mr. Nazaire informed me that he wants to start manufacturing the hair materials in Nigeria and he wants me to incorporate another company for him and his wife for that purpose alone and based on this request, I incorporated Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd. and the share holding was N5million: N3million for Nazaire and N2million for his wife, Abdul Rashidatou.

“They were both the directors of the company and all the sets of incorporated documents of Rana Prestige were signed by the couple as the shareholders of the company.

“Although, what am used to when it comes to signing of documents between the couple is that they signed their documents personally either in my presence or I send it to them to sign and after signing they bring it back to me due to the fact that I acted as their lawyers and the company’s Secretary to their companies.

“Later, the couple instructed me to increase the share capital to N10million and a meeting was held for that purpose where a “letter of resolution” was passed and drafted by me. I however complained about my fee as the company’s Secretary because I was not paid in that capacity.

Ferdinard, under cross examination by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo admitted that he was not an expert in Forensic Analysis of documents. 

He further told the court that he was in Rana Prestige Industries Nig. Ltd. in May 28, 2017 and he could confirm that Abdul Rashidatou was not in the premises of the company which was the day he brought the resolution letter for the couple to sign.

While being cross examined, Ferdinard told the court that the resolution letter was not signed in his presence you Abdul Rashidatou.

However, the defence witness was shown we documents to identify the similarities and differences in the signatures purportedly signed by the wife of the first defendant, Abdul Rashidatou who is the alleged victim of the offences.

The defence witness however showed to the court see similarities and differences in the signatures on the documents shown to him by Rotimi Oyedepo.

Justice Dada adjourned the matter to May 29 and June 5, 2020 for continuation of trial. 

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