Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arrested the President of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and declared winner of the last governorship election in Abia State, Uche Ogah, on the premises of a Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Tinubu, Lagos Island.
Ogah was arrested as soon as he stepped out of the courtroom after the forgery charges filed against him by the Police were withdrawn.
He was arrested, shortly after the police withdrew its charges of forgery against him, over alleged forgery of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
When the case was called, the police prosecutor, Henry Obiazi informed the Court that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had instructed him to withdraw the case against Ogah, following which the case was struck out.
Operatives of the EFCC swiftly rearrested Ogah, who was in June this year, declared winner of the last gubernatorial election in Abia State by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, as soon as he stepped out of the courtroom and was driven away in their waiting van.
Ogah was alleged to have sometime in August, 2011, forged the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun and an MoU between Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited and Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, with intent that it may be in any way used or acted upon as genuine.
However, when the case was called, the Police prosecutor, Henry Obiazi, told the presiding magistrate, Mrs. Kikelomo Ayeye, that he had the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to withdraw the charges against Ogah and his co-defendants.
“I am instructed by the IGP to withdraw this case, as the issue is pending with the SFU,” Obiazi said.
The charges were consequently struck out by the court, but as soon as Ogah stepped out of the court room, he was arrested by the waiting EFCC operatives who drove him away in their van.
A source at the EFCC said the commission had received a petition from the complainant in the case against Ogah.
The other defendants in the charge which the Police withdrew against Ogah were his company, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited; and an ex-employee of United Bank for Africa, Deji Somoye.
The defendants were accused of conspiring with some persons still at large to forge a Memorandum of Understanding between Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited sometime in March 2011.
Ogah and some other persons still at large were alleged to have forged the signature of one Bridget Adeosun.
The charges read, “That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large sometime in March 2011 at Ikeja, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to wit: forgery.
“That you, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Uche Ogah, and others at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned magisterial district, did forge the signature of one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun and a document known as MoU between Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited and Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, with an intent that it may be in any way used or acted upon as genuine.
“That you, Deji Somoye, United Bank for Africa and others still at large, sometime in August 2011, at UBA regional office, Palmgrove, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did knowing that Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited designed to commit an offence, failed to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission or the completion of the crime.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty; after which they were admitted to bail in the sum of N200,000 each, with one surety each in like sum.
However, in a statement, his lawyer Monday Ubani said his client was released un-conditionnally few hours after making his statement at the EFCC Lagos office.
Ubani said that the commission was influenced into carrying out the “embarrassing invitation” of his client based on false information by the petitioner.
According to Ubani, the complainant in the forgery charge against his client, one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun, had forwarded the same petition which she sent to the police to the EFCC and misinformed the commission on a lot of issues.
“The invitation of my client, Uche Ogah by officials of the EFCC this morning at the premises of Tinubu Magistrate, Lagos to say the least is the most shocking turn of event in an over five months trial over a trumped up charge.
“In vindication of my clients innocence, the police prosecution this morning informed the court of his intention to discontinue the forgery charge against my client.”