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How Convict Sold Dead Woman's Property With Forged C of O--Witness




A prosecution witness, Adegboye Bajulaiye has revealed how a landed property belonging to a dead woman,  late Mrs. Francisca Awolaja was acquired by a Lagos based businessman, Mr. Rotimi Olubeko without the consent of the deceased's family.


Bajulaiye revealed this to Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court Igbosere while testifying in the ongoing trial of a convicted legal practitioner, Kole Bello, and three others who allegedly forged a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) of a land.
 
Bello was arraigned alongside  Chukwu Victor, Friday Palmer and Osumah Terry on October 30, by the Lagos State Government  on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and forgery.

They were alleged to have committed the offences sometime in December 2001, at Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos, according to the charge, the defendants allegedly conspired among themselves and forged a C of O with reference no. 63/63/1989, dated Sept. 28,1989, “with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine.”

The  defendants allegedly forged C of O  in order to take over a plot of land which is the Estate of late Mrs Francisca Awolaja, and also arranged for someone to impersonate the late Awolaja in other to fraudulently convey her land to one Mr Rotimi Olubeko for the sum of N5 million.

The offences contravened Sections 422, 423 and 467 of the Criminal Law, Cap. C17 Vol.2, Law of Lagos State, 2003 but they pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The witness, who is also a lawyer, told the court that the convicted lawyer  (Bello) who is currently serving jail term for similar offence, eight years after death of late Mrs, Awolaja,, Bello and others impersonated the deceased  to sell her land at Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1 to the businessman,  Olubeko with forged C of O.

Bajuaiye said he has knowledge of how the defendants perpetrated the crime due to his involvement in the civil suit filed against Olubeko, Bello, Terry and others at the State High Court by family of the deceased.

The witness told the court that in order unravel the misery of how the deceased's property was sold eight years after her death, the Awolajas' family him to write many petitions to appropriate authorities, conducted series of investigations and filed suit.

"It was as a result of effort to unravel misery surrounding sale of the deceased land by her children,  husband  and mysel, despite having original C of O of the land in their possession that took us many police stations and filed suit against purported sellers and buyer of the land in question.

"In the process, an official the State Ministry of Lands, Olanipekun Cole who was subpoena to give evidence revealed it was photocopy of the original C of O  in the file at the ministry that was illegally removed and clone by the defendants to sell the land.
"At the State High Court we won the suit filed against them buy they appeal, at the Appeal Court again, the deceased's family also win and the matter is currently before the Supreme Court ", he said.

Justice Taiwo has adjourned further hearing in the matter till January 15 and 16, 2018.

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