A forensic examiner, Mr Rapheal Onwuzoribo, on Monday before an Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos, alleged that Semasa James, a Badagry prince, forged the signatures of the administrators of his late father’s estate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), alleged Semasa fraudulently converted a N500 million property belonging to his late father, Oba Afolabi James of Kweme Land of Badagry, to personal use between 2000 and 2017 in Lagos.
To prove the allegation of fraud against the defendant, the SFU brought Onwuzoribo, a former Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) to testify for the prosecution.
Onwuzoribo, who possesses over 27-years experience in forensic examination, was formerly attached to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Force CID, Alagbon, Lagos.
During cross-examination by Mr Martins Oyigbo, Semasa’s defence counsel, Onwuzoribo had noted that the result of his forensic analysis proved that the defendant forged the signatures of the administrators of his late father’s estate.
The administrators whose signatures were allegedly forged by the defendant are: Mrs Mausi Alakija James, late Mr Bolarinwa James and Justice Adebayo Adeniji.
“My employer, Master Patterns Forensic Services Ltd., received a purchase receipt, deed of assignment and the international passport of one Bolarinwa James to analyse,” he said.
Onwuzoribo showed the court a side by side comparison of the samples of the real signatures of the administrators and the purported fake signatures.
The forensic expert noted that he had found that the real signature samples of the administrators of the late king’s estate, which were given to him by the complainant for analysis, to be clear and legible.
“During the analysis, I was able to extract these master patterns.
“My Lord these are the doubted (forged) signatures and these are the undoubted (original) signatures.
“I used a doculus lumus analyzer, past scanner analyser, dosier analyser, magnifier and other methods to arrive at this conclusion,” Onwuzoribo said.
NAN reports that Semasa is standing trial alongside Afolabi Kazeem, whom SFU alleges is an accomplice to the crimes.
In the seven-count charge, Semasa is charged with stealing, forging of company resolution, fraudulent disposing of trust property and forgery, while Kazeem and the prince are jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud and cheating.
“To gain illegal access to his late father’s estate, the defendant had in 2011, forged the resolution of a company called CAJ Industrial Enterprises dated Nov. 28, 2011.
“He had purported that the resolution was signed by his father, who was one of the directors of the company, meanwhile his father had died nine years earlier on Jan. 30, 2002.
“The defendant had forged the resolution with the intent that it will be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person,” Mr O. O Olabisi, the prosecutor for the SFU said.
The prosecutor also noted that Semasa had also forged a purchase receipt dated Nov. 15, 2004 and an undated deed of assignment between himself, Bolarinwa James, Mrs Alakija (nee James), Hon. Justice Adebayo Adeniji and Mrs Saidat Taiwo.
Semasa, according to the prosecution, had purported that the receipt of payment and deed of assignment were signed by Bolarinwa, Alakija and Justice Adeniji with the intent that it would be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of other persons.
The offences contravene Sections 383(1), 383(2)(f), 390(9), 421,434, 465 and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Following Onwuzoribo’s testimony, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until Feb. 8 and 13 for continuation of trial. (NAN)