Magistrates’ absence stalls forgery charge against Abia guber contender Uche Ogah

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sampson-uche-ogahA Tinubu Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, Thursday adjourned till October 10, for hearing of an allegation of fraud against the President of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, following the absence of Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye.

Ogah, wo was recently declared the governor elect of Abia State by a Federal High Court in Abuja, following which he was issued a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was arraigned by the police on June 16, alongside an ex-employee of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Deji Somoye.

The oil firm and UBA were also joined with the defendants on three counts bordering on forgery and conspiracy.

No reason was given for the absence of the Mrs Ayeye but the court registrars adjourned the matter till October 10 for trial.

The police said Ogah allegedly forged a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited sometime in March 2011.

Ogah and some other persons still at large were alleged to have forged the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun.

The alleged forgery was reportedly committed in Ikeja, Lagos.

During their arraignment, the police also alleged that the bank aided Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited to open an account in the name of Mut-Hass Petroleum to perpetrate a fraud without applying its internal control procedures in the opening of the account.

It claimed that UBA allowed the said account to be opened sometime in 2011 at its regional office in Palmgrove, Lagos, in breach of the provisions of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions (BOFIA) Act 2004.

Police prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Henry Obiazi told the court that the offences contravened Sections 363 (3) (u), 408 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The charges reads in part, “That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large sometime in March 2011 at Ikeja, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to wit: forgery.

“That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned magisterial district, did forge the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun and a document known as MoU between Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited and Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, with an intent that it may be in any way used or acted upon as genuine.

“That you, Deji Somoye, United Bank for Africa and others still at large, sometime in August 2011, at UBA regional office, Palmgrove, in the Lagos Magisterial District, knowing that Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited designed to commit an offence, failed to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission or the completion of the crime.”

The defendants denied the charge and were admitted to bail in the sum of N200, 000 each with one surety each in the like sum.

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