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EFCC arraigns lawyer for stealing N188.7m



A lawyer, Tom Awhana, the former Head of Chambers of the Law Office of Mogbeyi Sagay, was arraigned before a Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja over allegedly stealing N188.7Million belonging to the law firm of the late senior lawyer. 

He was arraigned alongside a former lawyer in the chambers of Mogbeyi Sagay and Co, Paul Okoro by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of stealing N3.6million from the firm. They were arraigned on 16 count charges bordering on conspiracy to steal, stealing and the duo pleaded not guilty to all before Justice Mojisola Dada. 

EFCC alleged that Awhana was the Head of Chambers of the law firm of Mogbeyi Sagay and Co from 2010 to 2018 and Sagay his Principal, died in 2012 but was made signatory to the law firm’s Zenith Bank Account alongside three administrators of the late SAN’s estate.

EFCC also alleged that out of four administrators, three persons could withdraw from the bank account in Awhana’s possession. They added that unknown to the staff, other administrators and consultant to the law firm; Awhana opened other secret bank accounts in the name of Mogbeyi Sagay and Co in FCMB, Union and Heritage Banks. 

EFCC further alleged that Awhana diverted cheques into those secret accounts from 2012 to 2017 and stole a total of N188.7million while Okoro is alleged to have from October 14, 2012 to June 28 2013, stolen N3.6million belonging to the firm. 

Following their plea of not guilty, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo prayed the court for a trial date and urged it to impose stiff bail conditions on the lawyers. 

However, counsel to Awhana, Oluwaseun Olusiyi prayed the court to grant bail to her client. She said the bail application was dated May 17,2019. Also, second defendant counsel, K. U Ani, told court that his bail application dated May 17 also asked the court to grant him bail on self-recognisance. 

Justice Dada therefore ruled that since settlement was ongoing between the complainant and the defendants, she ordered them (Awhana and Okoro) to submit their international passports to the court and adjourned to June 4, 2019.

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