An Ado Ekiti-based lawyer has been arraigned in Ilorin, Kwara State, for allegedly defrauding a client of N11.6m.
The lawyer, Mr. Benjamin Onyeabo, was arraigned at an Ilorin Chief Magistrate’s Court alongside one Dominic Ochi for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, fraud and forgery charges against them in a case said to be contrary to sections 97, 312, 174 and 363 of the Penal Code law by police prosecutor, Inspector James Odaodu.
An ex-Offa Local Government chairman, Mr. Segun Olawoyin, who is also a legal practitioner, had written a petition to the police on December 9, 2015, complaining that sometime in January 2014 he filed a civil process on behalf of his client, one M.B. Global Nigeria Ltd., at the Ekiti State High Court and at the time used the accused person’s office as address of service for the suit.
The accused person allegedly collected N11.6m from the court on behalf of the complainant’s client, M.B. Global Nigeria Ltd., since December 2014, out of which he paid only N1,666,700 to him (Olawoye) and converted the balance to his own personal use.
The accused person had allegedly fraudulently prepared and filed terms of settlement in the matter, which led to the court’s judgment without the complainant’s consent.
According to police’s First Information Report, FIR, investigations conducted by the police showed that the accused persons, Onyeabo and Ochi, conspired to fraudulently obtain the court’s judgement without the consent of the petitioner and subsequently converted the bulk of the judgement sum paid into their personal accounts since December 2014 without the consent or approval of the petitioner.
Inspector Odaodu, after the accused lawyers had pleaded not guilty to the charges, objected to their lawyer’s request for bail by the court.
He told the court that investigation was still ongoing on the matter, pointing out that any attempt to admit the accused to bail at the stage of prosecution would jeopardise investigation.
The prosecutor told the court presided over by Chief Magistrate Nurudeen Adeyanju, that the accused persons might jump bail if granted, because they are not resident in the court’s Kwara State jurisdiction.
However, Chief Magistrate Adeyanju granted the accused persons bail for N1 million each with three sureties in like sum.