Court fixes April 13 for adoption of written addresses in Abebe trial
Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed April 13, 2022, for the adoption of written addresses in the trial of John Warimeme Abebe, senior brother to the late Mrs Stella Obasanjo, wife of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The trial judge, Dada, fixed the date after Abebe closed his defence in a criminal suit brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Abebe was arraigned on July 26, 2018, on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, fabrication of evidence, using fabricated evidence and an attempt to pervert the course of justice by the EFCC.
Part of the charge reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Limited’s letter dated November 30, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Limited by inserting in page 2 of the said letter the following words: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields” and purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and committed an offence contrary to Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Abebe used fabricated evidence in suit no. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited, before the Federal High Court, which evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the said suit and committed an offence contrary to Section 120 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.
He had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His counsel, E.D. Onyeke, had led the defendant (Abebe) in evidence to defend himself. He was also cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who confronted him with several documents.
However, at the resumed proceedings, Onyeke told the court that the defence was closing its case. “We will be asking the court for a date to file our written addresses,” he said.
Justice Dada subsequently adjourned to April 13, 2022, for the adoption of written addresses.