For the second time in two days, a property developer and managing director of Abeh Signatures Limited, Mr Cecil Osakwe, charged with alleged N130m fraud by the federal government has failed to appear before Justice Mohammed Idris of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory for his trial.
Though, his counsel, Orhakioyamhe Emmanuel Esq. , claimed he was not served with the charge.
Osakwe’s lawyer assured the court that his client will appear before the court on September 19, 2022 to face his trial
The accused person failed to appear before the court twice to face the criminal charge of fraud and criminal intimidation filed against him by the federal government.
His lawyer told the court that he was not in court because the police failed to serve the charge sheet on him personally but assured the court that he will produce him on the next adjourned date.
The prosecutor, Mr Una Matthew, during the proceedings told the court that Osakwe’s counsel undertook to serve the charge on his client.
“The police told us that the charge has been served on the accused through his lawyer”, Mr Matthew said
But Orhakioyamhe denied signing any undertaking.
After it was established that the accused person was not served with the charge sheet, Justice Idris adjourned the case to September 19 for the arraignment of Osakwe.
On July 5, 2022, the court ordered Orhakioyamhe, to appear before him to offer explanations why his client, Mr Cecil Osakwe, failed to show up for arraignment over alleged Fraud of N130m.
Last month, the federal government dragged Mr Osakwe, managing director of Abeh Signature Limited, a property development company before the court over an allegation of fraud.
The prosecutor, Mr Una Matthew, had told the court that the accused person, Mr Osakwe had been served the charge sheet through his lawyer, adding that there is proof of service before the court.
He called on the court to issue a bench warrant against the accused person.
But Justice Idris in a short ruling ordered Osakwe’s lawyer to appear before the court to explain his client’s absence in court.
According to the court processes with charge number CR/244/2022, dated June 9, 2022 and filed on June 14, 2022, Mr Osakwe is accused of Advanced Fee Fraud punishable under section 3(1) of the Laws of the Federation 2004.
In the charge signed by Mr M. B. Abubakar, Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice, he was also accused of criminal intimidation of one Ms Asabe Waziri.
He was said to have threatened Ms Waziri with injury to her person and reputation with intent to cause harm and even death in order to cause her to stop requesting legitimately from him (Osakwe) her receipt for payment for the purchase of a unit of two-bedroom flat with a maid’s quarters at Abeh Signature Apartments, Maitama Abuja.
According to court documents, in February 2021, she entered and concluded a contract to purchase a two-bedroom apartment at Maitama, and after full payment, Osakwe refused to issue her a receipt and sign the Deed of Assignment but rather began to threaten and make life miserable and unbearable for her.
The charge against the accused read, “That you Cecil Osakwe, male, adult of Abeh Signature Limited, sometimes in 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court obtained by false pretence and with intent to defraud, the sum of N130,000,000 00 (one hundred and thirty million naira) only being payment for the purchase of a two-bedroom flat with a maid’s quarters at Abeh Signature Apartment, located at 1, Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja from one Ms Asabe Waziri which property you failed to deliver neither did you refund her money. You thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3 (1) and punishable under same section of the Advance Fee Fraud, Cap. Ab, LFN, 2004.
That you Cecil Osakwe, male, adult of Abeh Signature Limited, sometimes in 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court threatened Ms Asabe Waziri with injury to her person and reputation with intent to cause harm and even death in order to cause her to stop requesting legitimately from you her receipt for payment for the purchase of a unit of two-bedroom flat with a Maid’s quarters at Abeh Signature Apartment, 1, Mekong close, Abuja, from you and the deeds of assignment thereof. You thereby committed an offence contrary to section 396 (2) and punishable under section 397(a) of the penal code law (cap 89)
According to a letter of response signed by Yunusa Shuaibu, the Executive Secretary of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, (REDAN), as regards the membership of Osakwe, REDAN said Abeh Signature Limited is not their member.
A long-term member of the association said: “The Association is bounded by strict rules and conduct such that clients are treated with utmost regard, complaints are not taken lightly, hence, some developers who do not want to be regulated, shy away from joining the association for reasons best known to them.”