Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s in-law, Dr. John Abebe, was sentenced to seven years in prison for laundering and forgery by Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
In lieu of imprisonment, Justice Dada offered the convict a N50 million fine to be paid within 30 days.
The trial judge issued the verdict after determining that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and convicted him accordingly.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Abebe, the late former First Lady Stella Obasanjo’s younger brother, with forgery.
The prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) arraigned the convict on July 26, 2018, on a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence, and attempting to pervert the course of justice before the Special Offences Court in Ikeja.
The EFCC, in the charges, claimed that Abebe “knowingly forged” a November 30, 1995 letter written by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited to Inducon (Nigeria) Limited.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the businessman “illegally inserted” into page 2 of the said letter “the following statement: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields.”
According to the EFCC, Dr. Abebe also attempted to “pervert the course of justice” by tendering the allegedly forged November 30, 1995 letter “as fabricated evidence” in court, in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited, and Statoil Nigeria Limited.
An oil company, Statoil Nigeria Limited on June 22, 2010, accused Dr. Abebe of forgery.
Statoil Nigeria Limited had alleged that the defendant forged parts of a Net Profit Interest Agreement (NPIA) dated November 30, 1995, which was drafted by British Petroleum (BP).