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$4m fraud: Court denies Abebe’s request for release of seized passport

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, December 3, 2018, turned down an application by John Abebe, for the release of his international passports.

Abebe is being prosecuted for an alleged $4m fraud.

Abebe is facing trial over a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the course of justice preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In the application made orally, Abebe, through his counsel, E.D. Onyeke, sought the release of the passport to enable him travel to the United Kingdom, U.K.

Abebe’s lawyer told the court that his client lost his mother last night in the UK; hence, the request for the release of the passport.

However, in her response, Justice Dada ordered the defendant to file a formal application to the court. “Your oral application is not welcome,” the Judge held.

Also, at proceedings, a prosecution witness, Prof. Fidelis Odita, SAN, admitted that he did not confront the defendant with the original document of the Net Profit Interest Agreement (NPIA) in the suit filed at the Federal High court against the defendant.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Onyeke, the witness told the court that there was no reason to enter into another agreement with Abebe and his company, Inducon by BP Exploration, after both parties had signed the termination agreement.

He said BP Exploration gave “a generous agency agreement to Inducon before the termination agreement was signed, while BP Exploration and Statoil were alliance partners.”

The witness further admitted to the court that the Net Profit Interest Agreement, NPIA, was an agreement to pay the defendant money. He also admitted that the NPIA had been entered into by BP and Inducon before oil production activities started.

The case was adjourned to January 25, 2019 for continuation of trial.

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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