A prosecution witness, Arifayo Falodun, yesterday informed the Lagos State Special Offences Court how convicted fraud kingpin, Emmanuel Nwude, defrauded a Brazilian bank of $242 million, and allegedly forged legal documents of property he was ordered to forfeit to his victims.
Nwude, who was convicted in 2005 by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole for impersonating Paul Ogwuma, a governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was arraigned alongside two lawyers, Emmanuel IIechukwu and Rowand Kalu over fresh allegations of fraud and forgery.
Nwude was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for defrauding the Brazilian bank, Banco Noroeste of $242 million between 1995 and 1998.
He and the two lawyers are arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 15 count criminal charge of conspiracy to forge contrary to Section 516 of Criminal Code Law, Cap C17, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.
While testifying in the case, Falodun a legal practitioner in the law firm of Sofunde, Osakwe and Belgore gave a narrative of how the fraud was perpetuated by the defendants.
Falodun said, “On October 10, 2017, the partners of my law firm were invited by the EFCC concerning property located at Plot 38b, Mobolaji Johnson, Oregun Road, Lagos.
“Pursuant to the said invitation we wrote a letter dated October 9, 2017 to the EFCC where we explained the role of our firm concerning the property.
“Via the said letter, we forwarded relevant materials including the court judgment regarding the said property.
“Our clients who are the majority shareholders in a Brazilian bank named Banco Noroeste had made a complaint to the EFCC regarding the fraud perpetuated by certain persons including the first defendant.
“The fraud was in excess of $190million and upon the complaint, the first defendant amongst others were charged before the High Court of Lagos with charge number -ID/92C/2004.
“Upon the charge and by a judgment delivered by Hon. Justice Joseph Oyewole delivered on Nov. 18, 2005, the first defendant and a company known as Emorus Autos Nigeria Ltd were convicted and sentenced.
“As part of the sentencing, the court ordered that certain properties belonging to the first defendant be forfeited to victims of the offence which were our clients.”
Falodun in his testimony also threw more light on details of the judgment convicting Nwude.
“Sentence three of the judgment specifically ordered that shares and other undertakings of the first defendant and Emorus Autos Nigeria Ltd be forfeited to victims of the offence.
“The sentence also made reference to a schedule that should be so forfeited.
“The relevant part of the schedule is the 26th item which is annexed to the amended information dated Nov. 18, 2005 upon which the defendant was convicted and sentenced,” he said.
The witness said that pursuant to the judgment, his clients who were the victims of Nwude’s crimes sold the property located at Plot 38b Mobolaji Johnson, Oregun, Lagos which initially belonged to Emorus Autos Nigeria Ltd to Rossab International Ltd.
“Before the deed was registered to Rossab International Ltd, our clients had registered the deed and the judgment at the Land Registry.
“It was on the strength of the judgment of Justice Oyewole and the registration of the deed of assignment that our client sold the property to Rossab International Ltd.
“My Lord, the said judgment of Justice Oyewole was appealed to the Court of Appeal by the first defendant.
“The Court of Appeal found that the respondents as victims of the offence in which the appellant (Nwude) was the perpetuator.
“Till now, we are unaware of any appeal of the Court of Appeal’s judgment,” Falodun said.
However, the proceedings was stalled due to a request for an adjournment by the EFCC counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa.
Omeha, urged the court for an adjournment due to the unavailability of some documents which were to be tendered in evidence by the prosecution.
The lawyer informed the judge, “The case file containing the documents are not in court, we will be requesting for a date to continue the testimony of the witness and to tender the documents.”
Justice Dada adjourned the case to April 18 for continuation of trial.
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