The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thirsday arraigned Mr. John Abebe, a businessman and brother of former First Lady, Stella Obasanjo, on four counts bothering on forgery and intent to mislead.
The businessman appeared before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja. He pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.
The EFCC in the indictment alleged that Abebe “knowingly forged” a November 30, 1995 letter written by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited to Inducon (Nigeria) Ltd.
It said Mr. Abebe “illegally inserted” into page 2 of the said letter the following statement: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields.”
According to the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr. Abebe also attempted to pervert the course of justice by tendering the allegedly forged letter “as a fabricated evidence” in court, in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC accused him of making an attempt to “mislead the court” by using fabricated evidence, contrary to Section 120 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.
The EFCC prosecutor told the court that by attempting to pervert the course of justice, Abebe violated Section 126 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.
The prosecutor added that forgery was a violation of Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.
While adjourning the case to enable the defence counsel, Mr. Uche Nwokedi (SAN), file an application for his client’s bail, Justice Dada ordered that Abebe be remanded in Ikoyi Prison.
Abebe, his company Inducon have been locked in a lengthy litigation against British Petroleum (BP) and Statoil over disputes arising from profit sharing in the latter’s oil exploration and production profits in Nigeria.