An Ikeja Special Offence Court has granted N2 million bail to a former editor of Punch Newspapers, Azubuike Ishekwene, accused of forgery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Mojisola Dada ruled on Friday that Mr Ishiekwene must provide two sureties who are owners of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge also granted Ishiekwene’s co-defendants – Olalekun Abdul and Adeyinka Adewale – bail in the sum of N10 million and N2 million respectively.
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.
EFCC had on January 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.
During Friday’s proceedings, EFCC 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 January 29 was present in court for proceedings.
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 pleaded not guilty to the charges.
EFCC prosecutor, Mohammed Idris, alleged that Abdul, Ishekwene, Adewale and Bolanle Morakinyo conspired to commit forgery on April 6, 2018.
He said: “The defendants sometimes 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 Ishekwene 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 Ishekwene 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.”
The prosecutor also said that on December 14, 2010, Abdul forged the Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd. and presented it to Wema Bank Plc as genuine.
Abdul was also said to have forged the Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Ltd. on September 27, 2010, in Lagos and used the document to open an account with Keystone Bank (formerly Bank PHB).
The offences, the prosecutor said, contravened Sections 335(2), 363, 364, 365, 370 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.