The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police Force has re-arraigned a prince of Kweme Land in Badagry, Semasa James, for allegedly defrauding the estate of his late father by leasing out some buildings to Ecobank Plc.
Semasa, who had been earlier arraigned on two counts of stealing and forgery, was re-arraigned alongside one Afolabi Kazeem on Monday before the Lagos State Special Offences Court on seven counts of conspiracy, cheating, stealing, forging of company resolution and fraudulent disposal of trust property.
The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the SFU prosecutor, Mr O. O. Olabisi, the prince fraudulently converted N500m property belonging to the late king between 2000 and 2017.
He said, “The defendant had in 2011 forged the resolution of a company called CAJ Industrial Enterprises, dated November 28, 2011.
“He had purported that the resolution was signed by his father, who was one of the directors of the company; whereas, his father died nine years earlier on January 30, 2002.
“The defendant had forged the resolution with the intent that it would be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person.”
The prosecutor further alleged that Semasa fraudulently sold a property belonging to his late father’s estate to a private individual and illegally leased another property to Ecobank Plc.
“About July 2005 in Lagos, he fraudulently converted the property on Plot 282 Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, by leasing it to the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc now Ecobank Plc.
“Sometime in 2017 in Lagos, Semasa and Kazeem fraudulently tricked and cheated the beneficiaries of the late king of N150m, which was part of the proceeds of the sale of a property located at Dideolu Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.”
Semasa, according to the prosecution, had purported that the receipt of payment and deed of assignment were signed by Bolarinwa James, Mrs Alakija (nee James) and Justice Adebayo Adeniji, with the intent that it would be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of other persons.
Following their plea, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ordered that Semasa should continue his previous administrative bail.
She, however, ordered that Kazeem should be released to his counsel, Mr Martin Oyigbo, after signing an undertaking that he would ensure that the defendant would be attending court proceedings.
Justice Taiwo adjourned the case until November 19 for trial.