The Nigeria Police Force on Friday arraigned a 90 year-old retired Soldier, Chief Damian Onwu, and a pastor before a chief magistrate court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital for fraudulent offences allegedly committed over twenty years ago.
The accused Chief Damian Onwu was arraigned alongside Pastor Israel Zacchaeus Ezekiel Hart (50), and Fubara Zacchaeus Ezekiel Hart (48) for allegedly forging the signatures of their dead fathers, who were Elders of Ezekiel Hart family of Grand Bonny Kingdom, in Bonny Local Government Area (LGA) of the state to sell portions of their family land located at Ikom Ikom, in Oyigbo LGA of same state to unsuspecting members of the public.
They were charged with conspiracy, forgery, impersonation, extortion and fraud.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, through the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone six, Calabar in Cross Rivers state brought the charge against them.
The prosecutor DSP Iroka Onwunta told the court that the accused persons conspired amongst themselves and forged the signatures of the deceased elders with the intent to defraud unsuspecting members of the society.
He said the offence was committed between 1992 and 1994 at Ezekiel-Hart family, Grand Bonny Kingdom’s parcels of land at IKom IKom in Oyigbo LGA of the state.
The charge sheet obtained from the court said the accused persons, allegedly forged and signed the signatures of Chief Benoni Ezekiel-Hart, Zacheaus Ezekiel Hart and Chief George Ezekiel-Hart who died in 1975, 1990 and 1995, respectively to sell portions of the family land at Kom Kom, Oyigbo.
The prosecution also said that the action of the trio amount to impersonation, with which they defrauded innocent Nigerians different amounts of money, ranging between N100,000 and N350,000 and thereby committed offence punishable under sections, 70(1), 467(2), 516(A), 484, and 419 of the criminal code cap 39, volume 11 of the Laws of Rivers state, 1999.
The trio pleaded not guilty to the six count charge levelled against them and the magistrate, A. O. Amadi-Nna granted them bail in the sum of N4 million with one surety in like sum.