From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Justice Mohammed Idris, has recused himself from the N130 million fraud charge filed against Cecil Osakwe, the Managing Director of Abeh Signatures Limited, citing external pressure.
The property developer was charged before the court by the federal government through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.
However, during proceedings on Monday, Justice Idris recused himself from the case and remitted the case file to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court for advice.
The AGF had specifically filed the two-count charges against Osakwe following a petition by Asabe Waziri claiming that his company, Abeh Signature Apartments collected the sum of N130 million without delivering possession to her.
But in a letter to the Malami by counsel to Osakwe, Victor Giwa, the company adviced him not to allow his “highly regarded” office to be used to defame his client who is an honest businessman.
Giwa explained that the repossession of the two units of the 2-bedroom apartment at Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, priced at N130 million each, totalling N260 million, for which the staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was granted possession after a part payment of N140 million, was due to her “violation of the covenants of the apartment”.
“Based on various breaches and her mode of payment, our client approached Asabe Waziri to terminate the transaction and offered to refund her money, an offer Asabe bluntly refused, prompting our client to approach the FCT High Court,” he said.
A copy of the enrolled order of the FCT High Court presided by Justice Musa Othman showed that the court had on February 17, upheld Osakwe’s application terminating the contract, refunding and repossessing the apartments in suit no: FCT/BW/CV/2435/2021 that the mode of payments employed for the purchase violated the money laundering laws.
“That in view of the termination of the contract for the purchase of the two flats of Abeh Court by the claimant, the defendant (Waziri) can no longer claim or exercise ownership over the said two flats,” the judge ruled.
“Consequently, the court orders the claimant (Abeh Signatures) to immediately refund the entire monies paid to it by the defendant (Waziri), (including the legal and agency fees) and further orders the defendant to immediately hand over possession of the two flats, being flats 3C and 38 of Abeh Court to the claimant,” he added.
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 MB 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.
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