Trial of lawyers accused of stealing N192.4m takes new turn
The trial of two lawyers accused of stealing from the estate of the law firm of the late Mogbeyi Sagay (SAN) took a new turn on Tuesday at the Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja as prosecution witness revealed that Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) opened account for the law firm with non-lawyers as signatories.
At the resumed hearing of the case against the lawyers, Tom Ahwana, a former head of the law office of the late Senior Advocate and Paul Okoro, a lawyer who also worked in the law firm, the name of Prof. Sagay, the chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, featured prominently over his roles in the matter.
The lawyers were charged for allegedly stealing the sum of N188.7 million and N3.6 million respectively, belonging to the law firm. Ifeoluwa Ojediran, counsel for the first defendant, Ahwana, continued with his cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Barr. Chris Okafor. At the end, counsel to the second defendant, Barr. Ani also cross-examined Okafor.
The witness told the court that it was the EFCC that asked him to testify against the second defendant, even when he had no complaint against him. He further testified under cross-examination that it was Prof. Sagay who authorized the opening of an account for the firm of Mogbeyi Sagay & Co with Access Bank by some people he also appointed even before the letter of administration was obtained from the Probate Registry.
He stated that Prof. Sagay, who is an uncle to the late SAN, authorized the use of the name M. Sagay & Co instead of Mogbeyi Sagay & Co, a name associated with the law firm since it was first registered in 1987. The account, he said was opened in the name of the firm on March 28, 2012, while Mogbeyi Sagay died on February 28, 2012.
The witness claimed that Prof. Sagay is still a consultant to the law firm after the death of the sole proprietor, but could not say who appointed him a consultant or what exactly are his jobs to the firm.
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