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Lagos

Legal practitioner, others acquitted for selling dead woman’s property

A Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has discharged and acquitted a legal practitioner, Kole Bello and three others who were prosecuted by the Lagos State Government over the sale of a dead woman’s property.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo discharged the lawyer and other defendants on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove its case against them.

The legal practitioner was charged alongside three others, Chukwu Victor, Friday Palmer, and Osumah Terry, for allegedly selling a landed property in Lekki, belonging to late Mrs. Francisca Awolaja.

They were docked on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, and forgery filed against them by the state government in October 2017.

In the charge Bello and others were alleged to have forged a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) with reference No. 63/63/1989, dated September 28, 1989, of landed property in Lekki, belonging to late Mrs. Francisca Awolaja.

The defendants were also accused of impersonating the late Awolaja in order to fraudulently sell her land to one Mr. Rotimi Olubeko for the sum of N5 million.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During the trial, the prosecutor called five witnesses to testify against the defendants while all accused testified for themselves in proving their innocence.

Delivering judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the defendants only acted in their professional capacities in sale of the property in question.

The Court held that in the case before it which was against the defendants neither the lawyer nor the three other defendants conspired with the so-called acclaimed owner of the land which was not before the court in the sale of the land.

“It is very clear that the document (C of O) use for the sale of the land was forged, but the prosecutor fails to prove case of forgery, conspiracy, and fraud pressed against the defendants, from the pieces of evidence and exhibits before the court, it only shows that all the defendants acted in the various professional capacities in facilitating the sale of the land in question, so, therefore, I hereby discharge and acquit them,” Justice Taiwo ruled.

Credit: Independent News

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