Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted a businessman, Rashid Huthman, who was arraigned before the court for allegedly providing false information to an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Huthman was arraigned with his company, Complete Leisure Estate Limited, before Justice Dada by the EFCC for providing false information to its officials in a petition he wrote to the agencies.
The anti-graft agency had claimed that the defendant had alleged that a former Director of Lands in Lagos State and Director of Salons Beverages Venture Limited, Alhaji Olabanji Oreagba, allegedly forged the signature of former Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (then Attorney-General of Lagos State) on a Deed of Assignment to deprive him of his land.
In the petition, Huthman had urged the EFCC to investigate Oreagba, whom he suspected had forged the signature of Professor Osinbajo on the Deed of Assignment in favour of Salons Beverages Ventures Limited.
He also claimed in the petition that he did not sign Form 1C, which Oreagba allegedly used to process the governor’s consent, for the Deed of Assignment for 6.3 hectares of land located within Complete Leisure Estate Limited 103 hectares land in Sangotedo, which Oreagba later sold to Property Mart Limited.
During the trial, the prosecution called seven witnesses, Oreagba; Azibarigi; Dr Muiz Banire (SAN); an EFCC detective, Emeka Okonjo; Babatunde Fashanu (SAN); a Forensic Document Examiner, Benedict Agweye Ayodeji Fasunwon and the Managing Director of Property Mart Real Estate Investment.
While the defence team led by former Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Lawal Pedro (SAN), called three witnesses, Huthman, a Director of Land Services in Lagos State Land Bureau, Bamidele Ibrahim and one other.
Delivering judgment in the matter, one year after the arraignment, Justice Dada upheld the submission of the defenceteam that there were indeed discrepancies in the signature appended on the Deed of Assignment, which Oreagba allegedly used to secure Governor’s Consent for the 6.3 hectares of land which formed part of the 103 hectares of land belonging to Huthman.