Absence of witnesses stalls N500m fraud charge trial of Badagry prince
June 1, 2018
The absence of two prosecution witnesses has stalled the N500 million fraud charge trial of Semasa James, the Prince of Kweme in Badagry, Lagos State, at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prince is accused of defrauding the estate of his late father, Oba Afolabi James of N500 million.
He, however, denied the two-count charge of stealing and forgery brought against him by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police.
At the resumed trial of the case on Friday, Mr Sunday Ekong, the SFU prosecutor, told the court that the two prosecution witnesses scheduled to testify were unavailable in court.
“We cannot go on today because our witnesses, one Adebowale James and an auditor, are indisposed.
“The auditor is giving evidence at the Federal High Court in a different case,” he said.
Ekong informed the court that eight more witnesses including members of the family had been scheduled to testify against the prince and promised that on the next adjournment, witnesses would be available to testify.
Two witnesses have so far testified against James in the trial.
NAN reports that the prosecution had alleged that James fraudulently converted N500 million worth of property, belonging to the late monarch between 2000 and 2017 to his own.
The prince is alleged to have in 2011 in Lagos, forged the resolution of a company called CAJ Industrial Enterprises, dated Nov. 28, 2011 which, he said, was signed by his late father.
James allegedly claimed that his father who died in 2002, was one of the directors of the company.
In addition, the prosecution said Semasa had forged the resolution with the intent that it will be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of any person.
The offences violated Sections 383(1), 383(2) (f), 390(9), 465 and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation 2004.
Continuation of trial has been fixed for June 6.