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Published On: Mon, Oct 1st, 2018

Abuja school, First Bank bicker over forged loan documents

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Whiteplains British School Abuja

By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

As the legal battle between Whiteplains British School Abuja and First Bank Plc rage on, the Proprietor of the school, Dr Francis Nwufoh, yesterday, revealed how a staff of the Bank one Muftau O. Ande Esq. allegedly forged some documents to aid a tripartite legal mortgage agreement on a N690,368,000million loan obtained by the school in 2014.
According to Nwufoh, First Bank used the tripartite agreement to secured an order of court to appoint a receiver in the process of taking over the multi billion naira school.
Whereas the bank insisted that it got a judgement in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1023/2015, to take over the school by appointment of a receiver, the management of Whiteplains are contending that it used forged documents to obtain the order.
In a statement released on Sunday, by Dr Nwufoh, the school revealed that the purported signatories to the tripartite agreement, all have deposed to separate affidavits denying knowledge of the said agreement.
Dr Nwufoh drew the attention of the public to the fact that the bank was only interested in the court order affirming the appointment of a receiver, and was silent on the fact that documents were forged which misled the court in its decision.
Going further, he revealed how the so called Tripartite Legal Mortgage was purportedly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) using the following forged documents.
“A letter dated 7th April 2014 by a Law Firm of LAGARDER and CO Barristers & Solicitors said to be counsel to the bank.
“Earlier a letter from the same Law Firm this time called LAGARDERA and CO Barristers & Solicitors with the same counsel address and phone line but now in the same transaction claiming to be solicitors to an opposite/adverse party, France Lee Nigeria Ltd. Thus under this disguise, the same Firm applied for filling of the purported signatures of Directors of the said France Lee Nigeria Limited.
“Attached to this two letters above are two affidavits purportedly sworn to by the two Directors of France Lee Ltd before a said Notary Public, Godwin I. lmakhai Esq..”
Additionally, the proprietor disclosed that a purported Form CAC 8 (particulars of mortgage), said to have been signed by two of the Directors of France Lee Nigeria Ltd, Mr Chukwuemeka Ibe and Mrs Frances Charity Ibe was forged.
The tripartite agreement dated 27 January 2014, was prepared by Muftau O. Ande Esq. a staff of the bank, Nwufor said.
He insisted that the purported tripartite agreement between First Bank, Whiteplains,and France Lee Nigeria Ltd was forged.
Dr Nwufoh in an affidavit he personally deposed to, averred that he was never a party to the alleged tripartite legal mortgage.
In the affidavit dated 8th August 2018 and sworn to on August 9 at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Dr Nwufoh stated that, “Someone superimposed/forged my signature into the document and used same to secure the judgement in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/1023/2015”.
Similarly, Nwufoh’s wife, Mrs Doris, a Director in the school stated in her own affidavit that she was never a party to the agreement.
Also, the owners of France Lee Nigeria Ltd, Mr Chukwuemeka Ibe and Mrs Frances Charity Ibe who inherited the company after the promoter Dr. Ibe died in 2008 had in their depositions denied knowledge of the documents.
They claimed that they neither authorised any person to enter the said agreements on their behalf nor did engage the services of Mr. Dibiaezue Chuks, a lawyer or any lawyer of the law firm of Lagardera and Co Barristers & Solicitors who registered the alleged forged documents.
Also, the deponents averred that they did not know any lawyer by name Muftau O. Ande, who prepared the tripartite agreement.
Nwufoh explained that the two lawyers who were said to have prepared the documents used in the purported tripartite agreement had before the Police washed their hands off the documents, insisting that the purported signatories, were never known to them, and that they have never in life related in anyway with the purported signatories and that they never at any time presented any document to them to sign.
According to Nwufoh, “More pathetic and glaring was that of Mr Chukwuemeka Ibe. He was last in Nigeria on 2nd April 2014, yet the said tripartite agreement was purportedly signed on January 27, 2017.
The proprietor submitted that whether the last bottom two signatures appearing for the director and secretary to the board of the bank in the purported tripartite legal agreement are real or not remains an in house issue for the bank to ponder.
Dr Nwufoh was amiss over how a land that was bought in 2008, by the owners of Whiteplains from France Lee (the purported surety) can be used again to surety the buyer (Whiteplains) even after a power of attorney had been issued.
Recall that the school had on September 7, 2018, through its counsel, Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh, SAN, petitioned all the 18 Directors of First Bank requesting the bank to investigate the forged documents which were suddenly smuggled into the loan arrangement with the ulterior motive to seize the school from its original owner.
The petitioner urged the bank authorities to ascertain why some nefarious persons instituted an action on its behalf claiming to take over the school when the loan is yet to expire on 12th June, 2019.

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