The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on March 1, 2018 closed its case against Ebenezer Joshua and Franca Johnson, two bankers who allegedly forged the certificates of Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML with the evidence of the PW7, Dabi Gideon Dashong.
Joshua and Johnson who once worked together at a new generation bank allegedly conspired and forged the Certificate of registration of the SCUML.
The scam came to light when the SCUML received two registration forms for clearance from a new generation bank bearing the names, ‘Noble Women for Better Tomorrow Initiative’ and another, ‘Support Initiative for Better Maternal Health’.
The defendants are facing trial on a 3-count charge of forgery before Justice Abbas Ahman of the State High Court, Kebbi.
Led in evidence by Ezikel Rimamsomte, counsel to the EFCC, Dashong, an operative of the Commission, revealed how forensic examination uncovered the alleged forgery.
“My department received letters of request from the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering on the 19th of June, 2017 and 4th of July, 2017 regarding the analysis of the certificate in dispute.
The witness identified the two letters which were already in evidence as exhibits C and C1.
Explaining the contents of the two letters, Dashong disclosed that the letters were accompanied with some attachments. According to him, “the letter dated June 19th, 2017 was attached to a document marked ‘X’ which is the certificate in dispute and the original specimen certificates which was marked ‘A-A2’, while the letter dated 4th July, 2017 is an additional specimen certificate marked ‘A3’.
The originals of the letters were tendered and admitted as ‘Exhibit CA and C1A’.
Continuing the PW7 said: “Upon receipt of the requests, the case was registered in the forensic register with reference number DNX/051/2017. I was then detailed by my Head of Unit, Benedict Agweye to analyse the two sets of documents using Video Spectral Comparator (VSC 5000) and on conclusion, I came up with the opinion in form of a report which I forwarded to SCUML alongside 33 pages of chart images for demonstrative purpose with features that I identified”.
The witness further confirmed that, he was the signatory to the entire report. He, however, called the attention of the court to the fact that “there was a typographical error in the dates”.
“My report came out on 6th July, 2017, however, on the cover page there was an error, it reads, 6th May, 2017 instead of 6th July, 2017”, the witness said.
The witness identified ‘Exhibit A’ as the disputed certificate with the name, ‘Nobel Women for Better Tomorrow Initiative’ with registration number RN-SC341600002 and serial number 010412 and confirmed to the court that it was forensically non genuine. In other words, it was forged.
Reason given by the witness was that, “the document does not have standard security features of original document”. This was further confirmed when the witness identified exhibit H with name, UBK Construction Company Limited and registration number RN-SC341600002 which is the certificate that was said to have been used by the accused persons to forge Exhibit A, the Certificate of ‘Nobel Women for Better Tomorrow Initiative’.
Under cross-examination, the witness confirmed that paragraph 3 on page 4 of his report only gave account of the outcome analysis of the disputed certificate and didn’t speak on the original specimen certificates.
Upon conclusion of the cross-examination of the PW7, the prosecution informed the court of its intention “to close the case” setting the stage for the defendants to open their defence.
Justice Ahman, thereafter, adjourned to March 22, 2018 for defence.
Media & Publicity
March 2, 2018