Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday admitted three exhibits in the alleged forgery and N10 billion fraud trial of Chief Paul Ozigbu.
The three exhibits are a finger signature impression of a witness, Chief Karina Ikata; a Power of attorney presented to the court by the witness; and Ozigbu Engineering Board Resolution 2021.
Trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, however, over ruled the prayer of the prosecution counsel to send the finger signature for forensic analysis in order to have an expert opinion comparing the finger signature with the signature on the Power of Attorney, on the grounds that the court has power to compare finger signature impression with the signature in the Power of attorney.
Paul is standing trial over allegations of forgery, criminal conspiracy and illegal conversion of family properties into personal use amongst others.
According to the charge, he was alleged to have forged landed property documents of their late father, Nze Ike Hilary Ozigbu, in order to takeover ownership of family properties and company.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
At yesterday’s proceedings, Chief Ikata, led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr. C.Menkiti the witness, Chief Akata had told the court that late Nze Ike Ozigbu whose property is in centre of the dispute between the defendant and his three other siblings, was his confidant.
He claimed that when the forgery case was reported at the police station, he was not invited and did not make any statement in regards to the power of attorney late Ozigbu gave him.
He said that one of the properties listed in the power of attorney is number 16 Aba – Port Harcourt Express highway but, under cross examination by the prosecution counsel Dr.Joseph Nwadike, the witness said it is an address of a company.
Under further cross examination the witness said that late Ozigbu gave him the power of attorney on the property and he signed it, adding that the late chief Ozigbu invited him to his house where he signed the document after studying it.
But counsel doubted the signature and the document and applied under Section 101 sub sections (1) and (2)of the evidence Act for the witness’ finger signature to be sent for forensic analysis. Although the prayer was refused but the finger signature was admitted and marked as exhibit E.
Still under cross examination the witness Chief Akata said that he hailed from same village with late Chief Ozigbu who had four children as follows in seniority: Paul Ozigbu, Peter Ozigbu, Mrs Stella Oga and Uche Ozigbu.
The defendant, Paul Ozigbu also yesterday began his testimony as he claimed he did not forged Ozigbu Engineering Company documents nor the signature of Hon Dr Ifeyinwa.
He said that Ozigbu Engineering Company Board Resolution 2021 that made his wife Mrs Ngozi Ozigbu and son directors of the company was not registered with the CAC.
The trial continues on Tuesday, May 16.2023. Paul in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/239/2020, was alleged to have forged Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documents, and Power of Attorney of his late father, Nze Hilary Ozigbu and obtained family property by falsehood.
He was also accused alongside one Ngozi Ozigbu and David Ozigbu, now at large to have at different times fraudulently obtained various sums of money amounting to N10.40 billion.
He was also accused of forging the signature of late Engineer Hillary Ozigbu and used same to effect the change of Directors of the company, known as Ozigbu Engineering Company Limited.
The charge stated that the defendant committed an offence contrary to section 1(2)(c) of Miscellaneous Offences Cap M17, Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Trial continues today.