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Badagry prince arraigned over alleged fraud of late father’s estate

Ikeja – Semasa James, the Prince of Kweme Land of Badagry, Lagos state, was on Tuesday arraigned at an Ikeja Special Offences Court on a two-count stealing and forgery.

Mr Sunday Ekong, the prosecutor for the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force, said the accused defrauded the estate of his late father, Oba Afolabi James of N500 million.

James, however, pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

Ekong further told the court that James fraudulently converted N500 million worth of property, belonging to the late king between 2000 and 2017.

He said that accused had in 2011 in Lagos, forged the resolution of a company called CAJ Industrial Enterprises, dated Nov. 28, 2011which he said was signed by his late father.

James, he said, claimed that his late father who died in 2002 was one of the directors of the company.

Ekong also noted that Semasa had forged the resolution with the intent that it will be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person.

Mr Martins Odigbo, the defence counsel asked the court to grant his client bail.

“The fear that the defendant will jump bail is not tangible; the incumbent king, Oba Olalekan James, one of the siblings of the defendant, is in court.

‘’He is ready to be a surety to the defendant.

“He has no criminal record and should be presumed innocent until contrary is proven,” Odigbo said.

Responding, Ekong in a written address opposed the bail of the accused.

“We have written address dated April 18, 2018 which is opposing the bail of the defendant.

“He had jumped administrative bail and that is why his passport is seized by the Commissioner of Police.

“We want to make sure this matter goes on and we are afraid that if he is granted bail, he will avoid his trial.

“We have with us evidence that the defendant jumped bail and that is why his passport is with us,” Ekong said.

The prosecutor also told the court that 15 prosecution witnesses, mostly relatives, were ready to testify against the accused during the trial.

He said the offences violated Sections 383(1), 383(2) (f), 390(9), 465 and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, however, in his ruling granted James bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.

He said one of the sureties must be a land owner with proven Certificate of Occupancy, while the second surety should be a relative of the accused with a viable means of income.

Taiwo also said that both sureties must show evidence of payment of taxes of last two years, adding the Certificate of Occupancy must be verified by the Registrar of Titles and the SFU.

The Judge ordered that James be detained at the SFU till the perfection of the bail conditions.

Taiwo adjourned the case until May 11, 14 and 15 for trial. (NAN)


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