Lebanese National Arraigned for Allegedly Faking Nigerian Citizenship

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Akinwale Akintunde
The Nigeria Police on Tuesday arraigned a Lebanese national, Rami El Masri, before an Igbosere Magistrate Court for allegedly forging a letter claiming to be a Nigerian.

Masri, 42, who owns two construction companies along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, was arraigned on a three-count charge of conspiracy and forgery before Magistrate Joy Ugbomiko.
According to the Police, Masri and others who are still at large committed the alleged offences between December 15, 2008, and November 19, 2014.

The prosecutor, Susan Ezema, told the court that the defendant on December 15, 2008, at 6 Oniru Street in Apapa area of Lagos State, forged a letter of confirmation of Nigerian citizenship with Ref: No MIA/NAT382/1 dated the said day which he falsely and fraudulently presented himself as a Nigerian citizen by birth.

Ezema said the defendant, knowing it was false, presented himself as a Nigerian citizen and wanted it to be acted upon as genuine in Nigeria.
The prosecutor further alleged that Masri, on November 19, 2014, at Police Special Fraud Unit, 13 Milveton Road Ikoyi, presented the alleged forged letter to one Martin Nwogoh as if it was a genuine document.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant presented the letter with the intention that it be acted upon as genuine in Nigeria.

“The letter was forged on December 15, 2008, and the defendant fraudulently presented himself as a Nigerian citizen, a representation he knew to be false, with intent that it be acted upon as genuine in Nigeria.

“On November 19, 2014, at the Police Special Fraud Unit at No. 13, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, the defendant knowingly and fraudulently uttered the aforesaid false letter of confirmation to Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Martin Nwogoh, as if it was a genuine document,” Ezema said.
She said the offences are punishable under Sections 363 (3), 363 (4) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was admitted to bail with the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.

The Magistrate, Ugbomiko, ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and must be company directors or should have property anywhere in the state.

She also said addresses of the sureties and their places of business must be verified.

The case has been adjourned till June 16 for mention.