The Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 arraigned the trio of Lawal Muhammad, Ibrahim Abdullahi Bazanga (a.k.a Danlami) and Emmanuel Ochonu before Justice Esther Y.B Lolo of the Kaduna State High Court, on a nine-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and impersonation.
Trouble began for the three sometime in January, 2019 following a case of fraud in which the principal suspect in trying to fulfil his administrative conditions, produced one Tijjani Adamu (now deceased) as his surety.
The Commission’s investigations at authenticating the documents presented by Adamu, who claimed to be a senior civil servant and land owner within the court’s jurisdiction, as the court stipulated for a surety, proved that Adamu’s documents were not only forged but all those who undersigned them were impersonators.
Adamu disclosed upon interrogation that Lawal Muhammad introduced him to the culprits who sourced and forged all the documents he presented as a purported eligible surety.
Muhammad was consequently arrested. His arrest paved way for more fake documents to emanate. He linked Abdullahi Bazanga to some of the fake documents who also had to be arrested.
In their various statements, Muhammad and Bazanga pointed at Emmamnuel Ochonu, owner of a business centre along Bida Road, Kaduna as the one who does forging and counterfeiting for them.
Forged documents recovered from them included, a certificate of occupancy, (CofO) and a "letter of authentication," purportedly emanating and signed by the land officer, Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Others are: letters of introduction from Kaduna State Water Corporation, KADSWAC and Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, falsely indicating that the late Adamu was a staff of both KADSWAC and UBEC.
Count one against the defendants reads that: "That you Lawal Mohammad, Emmanuel Ochonu, and Ibrahim Abdullahi (a.k.a Danlami) sometime in January, 2019 in Kaduna within the judicial division of this honouranle court did conspire amongst yourselves to do an illegal act to wit; forgery of National Primary Education Commission/Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) document titled: Introduction Letter of Alh Tijjani Adamu as Deputy Director, Internal Audit and Certificate of Occupancy No: CK/B/000434 of Chukun Local Government which you knew to be forged and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 59 (1) of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State, 2017 and punishable under Section 59(2) of the same law”.
They all pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel Y.J Matiayak asked the court for a trial date, while Y.J Magaji and F.A Oviasojie, defence counsels to the first, second and third defendants asked the court to entertain their oral bail applications. The judge declined and ordered the defence counsels to file written bail applications.
She adjourned the case to the July 12, 2019for hearing on their bail application and ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody.