Expert testifies in alleged $30m fraud case against Lagos hotelier
JUSTICE Atinuke Ipaye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been told that all the documents used by a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, the late Maurice Ibekwe and his accomplice, Augunous Okoro to defraud a German, Klaus Munch and his company, Firm System Organisation of the sum of $30 million in 1992 were forged.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, a forensic expert, Raphael Onwuzurigbo told the court yesterday while analysing some documents tendered as exhibits before the court in 2003.
He alleged forgery of various documents against the defendants, said that there are discrepancies in the documents analysed in May 2003.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft had charged a Lagos hotelier, Okoro, an alleged accomplice of late lawmaker, Maurice Ibekwe to court for allegedly duping the German national, Klaus Munch and his Firm System Organisation of the sum of $30 million in 1992.
Ibekwe, then a member of the House of Representatives died in prison custody not long after the their trial commenced. Okoro also claimed he could no longer continue with the trial due to ill health.
The trial suffered several adjournments at the instance of the defendant on account of ill health.
But when the matter came up for hearing yesterday, the forensic expert, when led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Adeniji Adebiyi, told the court how he arrived at his findings.
Onwuzurigbo informed the judge that he employed a method of using Video Spectra Comparator to determine the writing and signatures on the documents that were analysed and found out they were not the same.
He said, “The questioned handwriting in the relevant column of documents of B1 to B2, B4 to B8 were written by the writer of a specimen handwriting of a documents marked X1 to X9.
“The questioned handwriting in the relevant column of documents marked D3, D9 were not written by the writer of the specimen hand writing of a documents marked X1-to X9.
The questioned signatures on the relevant column of documents marked B2, B5, B7 and B10 were not the same with the documents marked X10.”
He further told court that he noticed that strokes traceable to master pattern of questioned writing indicated differences of writers, what he termed “feature disparity.”
The witness stated further that the exhibit marked P22 before the court dated June 4, 2003 was subjected to scientific and comparative analysis marked B1 to B10 and X1 to X10.
During cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo faulted his analysis of the evidence during cross- examination of the witness.
He questioned the witness’ failure to identify the features of his scientific observations. Adding that the witness merely summarising his findings in his report, which was tendered along with, certified true copy of attached documents.
Ojo therefore prayed the court for adjournment to further cross examination of the witness on another date.
The judge subsequently granted his request, and the adjourned continuation of trial till April 5, 2016.