July 20, 2024

EFCC presents 2 additional witnesses in trial for alleged issuance of false docs in Lagos

The trial of Bernard Nzenwa, who is facing charges related to the issuance of false documents, continued on June 14, 2023, before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos.

The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) presented two more witnesses, namely Stephen Fadeyi, an official from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and Titi Osuntoki, a former Executive Director at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), to testify against the defendant.

The charge against Bernard Nzenwa is in violation of Section 360(1)(b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. He pleaded “not guilty” when arraigned on December 6, 2022.

Led by the prosecution counsel G.C. Akaogu, Fadeyi, the third prosecution witness (PW3), informed the court that the NCS received an inquiry letter from the EFCC regarding a particular company in May 2022.

He explained that “if an individual obtained a temporary importation permit, the bond would serve as a guarantee to cover customs duty in case the person failed to pay.”

Fadeyi, who was not directly involved in the transaction under investigation, stated that in 2015, the responsible person for bond licenses and permit seals wrote a letter to the bank to convert the bond to the Nigerian Customs Service.

“However, the bank replied that the bond did not originate from them,” he said.

The bond was valued at approximately N97,480,930.

In response to the EFCC’s letter, Fadeyi sought further clarification from the bank, which confirmed that the bond did not come from them.

He presented the bond diary, the 2015 letter from his colleague to GTB, the bank’s response denying the origin of the bond, and the 2022 correspondence between him and the bank on the matter.

The defense counsel, Godwin Omoaka, SAN, did not object when the prosecution sought to submit these documents as evidence, and Justice Oshodi admitted them as exhibits against the defendant.

Osuntoki, the fourth prosecution witness (PW4), was presented with the bond document claimed to have originated from GTB. She denied that the signature on the document belonged to her, stating that it significantly differed from her actual signature.

She said, “This is certainly not my signature; this is not the way I write; it is a far cry from my signature; I certainly didn’t sign that document.”

When asked by Akaogu if she could provide a specimen of her signature in court, she agreed to do so. Akaogu requested the court to provide her with a plain A4 paper to submit ten specimens of her signature in open court, and the defense raised no objections.

The prosecution then sought to submit the signature specimens as evidence, and they were admitted as exhibits against the defendant without objection from the defense.

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