Abebe didn’t forge document, witness tells to court
Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi, who was the former Attorney General of Lagos State and defence witness in the trial of the Chairman of Inducon Nigeria Limited, Dr. John Abebe, has confirmed the authenticity of the document allegedly forged by Dr. Abebe.
Dr. Abebe is currently standing trial at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja Special Offences Division.
An international oil company, Statoil Nigeria Limited had on June 22, 2010 accused the defendant of knowingly forging a letter dated November 30, 1995 belonging to BP Exploration Nigeria Limited to that of his company, Inducon Nigeria Limited. The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When hearing resumed in the trial last Thursday, Mrs. Fadayomi, testified that after she left office as Attorney General of Lagos State in 1989, she joined the prestigious law firm of Irving & Bonnar as principal partner, and during that time she served as Chairperson of the then Afribank Nigeria Plc.
She gave evidence that during her time in Irving & Bonnar, she incorporated BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited as her international clients, even serving as one of the initial nominal directors of both companies along with her partner in the law firm. Irving & Bonnar, she said, went on to act as company secretary and legal adviser to both companies.
Mrs. Fadayomi stated that BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited were equal partners in a joint venture and were jointly referred to as “the Alliance” or “Mirror companies”.
She further confirmed that Dr. Abebe, as chairman of Inducon Nigeria Limited, was introduced to her by one Forbes Maclean who was the Managing Director of BP Exploration Nigeria Limited at that time and that Dr. Abebe had an active working relationship with the Alliance, helping them to secure three oil licences and he was initially made a director of both BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited before he was elevated to the position of Vice-Chairman of both companies.
She further stated that there were a number of agreements between Dr. Abebe and the Alliance that governed their business relationships. According to her, the main agreement was the Net Profit Interest Agreement (NPIA), which was to secure a 1.5 percent interest for Dr. Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited in the production of the Alliance.
She explained that there were also a number of amendments to the Net Profit Interest Agreement including one contained in the letter of November 30, 1995. These amendments were in response to issues that arose with the NPIA.Upon being shown the copy the EFCC alleged was the original document that Dr. Abebe forged, Mr. Fadayomi denied knowledge of the document.The court then adjourned the matter to 15th, 18th and 19th of November 2019 for continuation of trial.