A Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere has adjourned a N45 million forgery case involving the Director-General of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu to April 1.
The court, which was presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, adjourned the case after hearing the submissions of the defence counsel, Mr. Gbenga Ojo and the prosecution counsel, Mr. Akin George.
Oke-Osanyintolu had accused his former mistress, Alhaja Olaide Ibraheem of forging documents involving the ownership of a property located at No. 1, Baba Yusuf Close, Alausa, Ikeja Lagos State.
During the hearing, Oke-Osanyintolu had told the court that he and the defendant were top civil servants working for the Lagos State Government.
According to him, when he needed accommodation for his ailing mother in the course of their relationship, I sought Ibraheem’s help to get the accommodation.
Oke-Sanyitolu said the defendant negotiated the purchase of the property on his behalf for N45 million from its former owner, Baba Yusuf, in Kano.
In his submission, however, counsel to Ibraheem, Mr. Gbenga Ojo said the prosecution had failed to prove forgery case against the defendant beyond reasonable, adding that the state also failed to call vital witnesses.
Ojo further explained that the law required the prosecution to call a vital witness, whose evidence would prove vital ingredients of the offence.
“If the prosecution defaults in calling such a witness to give evidence to prove the elements of the charges, the failure will be fatal to his case, which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
He argued that the area of disagreement was whether the defendant signed the deed of assignment along with these four people, stating that the defendant claimed that she signed in the presence of Baba Yusuf and son, Musa.
“The nominal complaint insisted that she did not sign the deed of assignment. His personal assistant Luqman Salami also did not sign the deed of assignment and that defendant forged their signatures.
“More so that the Dr. Femi agreed that Baba Yusuf and Musa and his son signed the deed of assignment. Baba Yusuf is late but Musa is live. His evidence or testimony would settle the issue one way or the other.
“The prosecutor obtained the statement of Musa. The prosecution listed him as one of the witnesses to testify against the defendant on the allegations of forgery.
“We urge the court to discharge and acquit the defendant in this case on the grounds: failure to call vital witness with vital evidence to prove the ingredients of the case. On the totality of the evidence, the state has failed to prove the case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.
“There is no proof forgery of signature of Oke-Osanyintolu and his personal assistant in respect of the Deed of Assignment in respect of exhibit 12. Exhibit 12 was not sent for handwriting verification to show that defendant simulated that signature in exhibit 2.
“On a lighter note, the prosecution ‘proved’ forgery of undisclosed signatures of Oke-Osanyintolu and his personal assistant in the specimen sent to PW4 for analysis.
“The defendant has created reasonable doubt in the case of the prosecution and the doubt must be resolved in the favour of the defendant. There is no imaginary scale. It is either the state proves the case beyond reasonable doubt or nothing.”