By Moji Eniola
Ikeja – An Ikeja Special Offence Court on Friday granted the former executive director of the Punch Newspaper, Azubuike Ishiekwene, accused of forgery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) N2million bail.
Granting Ishiekwene bail, Justice Mojisola Dada said he must provide two sureties who are owners of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Dada also granted Ishiekwene’s businessmen co-defendants – Olalekun Abdul, bail in the sum of N10million naira and Adeyinka Adewale N2million bail.
She said the co-defendants should also provide two sureties with landed property within jurisdiction of the court.
“All the defendants should submit their international passport to the court registrar and are given two weeks grace to perfect their bail or they will have to forfeit their temporary bail,” Justice Dada said.
The EFCC, had on Jan. 29, arraigned Ishiekwene and Abdul on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, use of false document and making documents without authority and obtaining money by false pretences.
Earlier, during Friday’s proceedings, the anti-graft commission re-arraigned Ishiekwene, Abdul, Adewale and Morakinyo Bolanle (now at large) on an amended 15 count charge.
They were re-arraigned because Adewale who was absent during their initial arraignment on Jan. 29 was present in court for proceedings.
NAN reports that Abdul, Ishiekwene, Adewale and Morakinyo (now at large) were jointly charged with conspiracy to forge and forgery.
Abdul and Ishiekwene were both charged with forgery, use of false document and making documents without authority while Abdul and Morakinyo face charges of forgery, making documents without authority.
Abdul solely faces charges of forgery, use of false document, obtaining money by false pretences and falsification of books and account documents.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to Mr Mohammed Idris, the prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdul, Ishiekwene, Adewale and Morakinyo (now at large) conspired to commit forgery on April 6, 2018.
“The defendants sometime in 2018 knowingly forged a document titled ‘Account Opening Document’ dated April 9, 2018 which they purported that it was issued by Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd.
“Abdul and Ishiekwene on April 6, 2018, knowingly forged a document titled ‘Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd’ dated April 6, 2018 which they purported was issued by the company.
“On April 6, 2018 Abdul and Ishiekwene fraudulently presented the forged Board Resolution to Stanbic IBTC Bank as genuine.
“Abdul and Morakinyo had also on April 6, 2018 forged the Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd,” he said.
According to the EFCC prosecutor, Abdul had previously on Dec. 14, 2010, forged the Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd and had presented it to Wema Bank Plc as genuine.
“Armed with the false document, Abdul had on Dec. 14, 2010 obtained a credit facility of N350million from Wema Bank Plc by falsely representing to them that the Board Resolution was genuine,” Idris said.
The anti-graft agency said that Abdul had also forged the Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd on Sept. 27 2010 in Lagos and had used the document to open an account with Keystone Bank (formerly Bank PHB).
“Abdul had sometime in 2015 being a Director of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd falsified the Annual Report and Financial Statement of the company and presented it to the Corporate Affairs Commission as genuine.
“On Nov. 19, 2011 in Lagos, Abdul forged a document titled ‘Extract of Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd’ which he purported was issued by the company,” the EFCC prosecutor said.
The offence, the EFCC said, contravened the provisions of sections 335(2), 363, 364, 365, 370 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.
Justice Dada adjourned the case until April 6 and April 9, 2020 for commencement of trial.