Moses Awonusi, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has narrated to an Ikeja Special Offences Court how two Beninoise men allegedly forged documents of a Nigerian company, to divert funds.
The defendants, Gnanhoue Nazaire and Zenou Modeste, are facing a four-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and altering documents belonging to Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria Ltd.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Mr Awonusi was led in evidence by Nnaemeka Omeha, an EFCC prosecutor.
His testimony was translated into French by Sika Nkanu, a French interpreter, for the benefit of the defendants, who do not understand English Language.
According to Mr Awonusi, the accused forged the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) incorporation documents, belonging to Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria Ltd., in a bid to allegedly defraud Mrs Abdul Rachidatou, their business partner.
“We wrote the CAC requesting for the incorporation documents of Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria Ltd.
“We wrote the letter because the signature on Form CAC7 was allegedly forged and the CAC responded confirming the forgery.
“The complainant was not in the country when the resolution of the company’s board and its other documents were forged, and was allegedly to have been purportedly signed by her.
“We invited Mrs Rachidatou and received samples of her signature, sent the samples with the allegedly forged CAC documents for forensic analysis in our laboratory in Abuja.
“We received feedback from Abuja that the signatures were not the same,” he said.
Following Mr Awonusi’s testimony, Mr Omeha sought to tender the allegedly forged CAC documents as evidence.
The defence counsel to Messrs Nazaire and Modeste, Rickey Tarfa, objected to the tendering of the documents on the ground that they were not properly certified as required by law.
Responding, Mr Omeha said the documents were properly certified by the CAC and that a photocopy of an original Certified True Copy (CTC) of a document requires no certification.
Earlier, Mr Awonusi gave an account of how the alleged fraud came to the attention of the EFCC.
He said: “The commission received a petition dated December 16, 2013 alleging forgery, diversion of money and property belonging to Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria Ltd.
“The petition was assigned to my team which is the Counter-terrorism and General Investigation Section.
“We invited the complainant and she adopted the petition and made some clarifications.”
Mr Awonusi noted that when the defendants were invited to the EFCC office on January 7, 2015, they responded by denying the allegations in the petition in the presence of their lawyer.
According to the anti-graft agency, the defendants committed the offences on May 28, 2007 in Lagos.
They allegedly forged the ordinary resolution of Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria Ltd, dated May 27, 2007 and purported that it was signed by Rachidatou, the complainant.
They were also alleged to have, on November 22, 2005, forged the Form CAC7 and purported that it was signed by Rachidatou, which was false.
The EFCC said that the offences contravened Sections 467, 468 and 516 of the Criminal Code Law of 2003.
Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until October 30 and October31 for ruling, on the arguments of counsel and continuation of trial.