Wednesday, March 23, 2016 9:16 pm
A Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere today nullified a forgery case brought against Mr. Olaide Omotola, a director of Stormberg Engineering Company Ltd, the developer of Tejuosho Ultramodern Market.
The court, which was presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, declared in its ruling that the Lagos State Government could not establish a prima facie case against the accused person.
The judge also declared that the accused person was not served notice of the trial, indicating that there was nothing again the prosecution could not prove to move the matter further.
He identified discrepancies in the legal advice, which formed the basis of the prosecution, noting that the statement of the petitioner was written March 5, 2012, while the petition was approved March 7, 2012.
Taiwo stated that the petitioner had finished writing his statement “before his petition was approved,” thereby describing the entire process as a premeditated prosecution.
Omotola, a partner in the development of Tejuosho Ultramodern Market and leading equity contributor for the market, had been accused of forging signature to become a director in Stormberg Engineering Company Ltd.
He explained that he was accused of forgery when he discovered some discrepancies in the redevelopment of the market, which he said, compelled him to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into it in my capacity as a director of the company.
Omotola explained that when the EFCC was investigating the petition on the alleged discrepancies, his partner, Mr. Dolapo Atimo and some other people decided “to petition the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), claiming that he forged signature “to become the director of the company.”
He added that the bid was “to negate the petition that was already at EFCC so that it would have no stand. On March 22, 2012, the SFU people came to my house and took me to SFU on the charge of forgery and that I stole N20million from the account.
“After they investigated, they could not establish any prima facie against me in the matter. My passport was seized and later returned to me. In the course, we petitioned the IGP that SFU is taking a biased position and the matter was transferred away from SFU.
“But unknown to us, they had hurriedly gone to court on the matter which was unknown. When Mr. Dolapo Atimo died, as it was obvious that I had the controlling share of the company, they also wrote another petition to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“But CAC called my attention to the request. I told them to write a letter so that we can see the petition and what the issues are. This was when we now knew that there was a secret trial going on at a Lagos High Court, Igbosere without our attention being called to it,” Omotola explained.
On this ground, Omotola said he wrote office of the Attorney-General through his lawyer, Mr. Olarenwaju Ajanaku “for a review of the legal advice which was drawn and was never shown to him. In the course of legal review, they discovered discrepancies in the first legal advice.
“We went by way of preliminary objection to the court that this thing cannot stand as a result of the fact that, even looking at the petition of the complainant, it preceded the day the petition was approved.”