The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today arraigned a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Nze Chidi Duru before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, on charges of forgery of company’s board resolution and alleged diversion of N16.2m shares proceeds.
Duru, who was then in June 2010 the vice-chairman of First Gurantee Pension Ltd, allegedly diverted the sum of N16.2m said to be proceeds of part payments for the company’s shares sold to another firm, Novare Holdings Proprietary Limited.
The defendant was said to have been “entrusted with dominion over” the sums of N15m and N1, 23,646.58 (totaling N16.2m), being part payments of 30 per cent equity shares of FGP Limited sold to NHP Limited.
The Punch reports that the prosecution accused him of diverting the money in July 2010 “to pay for land allocations from Lagos State Government in favour of Grand Towers Plc and MVJJDA Africa Limited, companies of which you have interest”.
The EFCC alleged that the defendant committed criminal breach of trust, an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap. 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
He was also said to have in June 2008 “knowingly and fraudulently” made “false document, “an ordinary resolution of First Guarantee Pension Limited dated June 2, 2008, purporting same to have been signed by all the subscribers/shareholders” of the company.
The prosecution alleged in the fourth count that the defendant “knowingly and fraudulently” used the allegedly forged document and “forwarded same to Folashade Ogundare and Hon Isegha Teamgu with the intention of causing it to be believed that the said document was genuine”.
The two forgery-related offences were said to be punishable under section 364 of the Penal Code Act Cap. 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
He pleaded not guilty to all the four counts read to him before Justice Peter Affen.
After his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to remand the defendant in prison.
The defence counsel, Mr. Abdul Mohammed, in response, informed the judge of his intention to move his client’s application for bail.
He urged the court to grant the bail on reasonable terms in line with the spirit of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which according to him, provides that defendants are entitled to bail.
He also urged the court to take judicial notice to the fact that the defendant is a legal practitioner and would not jump bail.
In response, the EFCC’s lawyer opposed the bail application, arguing that the defendant did not place any material before the court to justify bail being granted him.
Duru was arrested last Saturday in his office at the Grand Towers Hotel, Katampe, and taken to EFCC office.