Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Chuks Dibiaezue, has been arrested by operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command over alleged forgery of loan documents.
Dibiaezue, a lawyer to the First Bank Plc, was arrested by operatives of the Command following a complaint by Whiteplains British School Ltd to the effect that a Tripartite Legal Mortgage Agreement was forged by the bank through a law firm, “Lagardera and Co”, used by him.
The forged document and ‘Form CAC 8’, (Particulars of Mortgage), according to the complainant, were filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The controversial Tripartite Mortgage Agreement, according to First Bank PLC, was made at its Shippers House offices on January 27, 2014 between it, White Plains British School Ltd, and former owner of the school’s land, France Lee Nigeria Ltd.
Under the purported mortgage agreement, the bank could at a short notice acquire and takeover the school’s property at Plot 528 Cadastral Zone B4, Jabi, FCT.
The school with six buildings each with four floors each comprising both secondary and HSC is estimated to worth N6 billion.
Thus, it was also alleged that the bank used the said forged agreement to obtain an order of a Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/1023/2015 granting it access to the school’s property.
Curiously, when the attention of the two directors of the school, Dr. Francis Chukwuma Nwufoh and his wife, Doris Adaora Nwufoh as well as the two directors of France-Lee Nigeria Ltd, which sold the land to the school in 2008, Francis Charity Ibe and his son, Emeka Prince Kelechi all denied knowledge of the agreement or affixing their signature on the document.
Also, the Notary Public, Godwin Imakhai, before whom the directors were purported to have deposed to two affidavits dated October 25, 2013 endorsing the said Tripartite Agreement denied the document.
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In the petition to the Police, EFCC, and an affidavit in an FCT High Court by their counsel, Chukwuma Machukwu-Ume (SAN), Dr Nwufoh deposed that “someone superimposed/forged my signature unto the document and used the same to secure the judgment in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1023/2015.”.
In her depostion, Mrs Ibe deposed that “I have never given my passport photograph to Barrister Chuks Dibiaezue and I am concerned how the photograph was gotten and affixed therein.
“That my son Mr Emeka Prince Kelechi Ibe left Nigeria on the 2nd of April, 2013 after the burial and since then has never returned to Nigeria.
“That the alleged signature of my son affixed on the affidavit dated 25 October, 2013 is not my son’s signature.”
The Police spokesman in the FCT, Anjuguri Manzah could not confirm the arrest as at the time of filing this report.
But a spokesman for the First Bank PLC in Abuja, confirmed that the bank has an ongoing issue involving loans with the school but cannot comment because the civil aspect of the matter is before the court.