A legal practitioner and notary public, Mr Godwin Imakhai, who was hired by First Bank plc to perfect a purported tripartite mortgage agreement allegedly entered between the bank and Whiteplains British School Abuja, has distanced himself from the documents.
Imakhai who was summoned by the Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta led House Committee on Public Petitions told the committee at the weekend that the signature, stamp and letterhead on the notarized documents and affidavits tendered before the Corporate Affairs Commission by First Bank were not his own.
First Bank had claimed that it entered a tripartite agreement duly signed by Dr Francis Nwufor and his wife Mrs Doris Nwufor (owners of Whiteplains British School), Directors of France Lee Nigeria Ltd (Mrs Frances Ibe and Mr Emeka Ibe), whom they purchased the land from.
Making submissions before the commitee, Imakhai insisted that he had never met with any of the owners of Whiteplains British School nor had he met with owners of France Lee before, adding that he did not notarize any document on their instructions.
Having denied knowledge of the documents, the committee asked him to append his signature and his stamp on a paper which he did and to the surprise of the committee, they were totally different with the ones on the alleged forged documents tendered by First Bank with which they used in obtaining judgement at the FHC Abuja.
Also, affidavits deposed to at High Court of the FCT by owners of Whiteplains as well as Mrs Frances Ibe and her son Emeka, averred that they never met Imakhai and did not instruct him to notarize such documents.
The Committee wondered why First Bank officials hid the purported tripartite mortgage agreement from the other two parties (Whiteplains and France Lee), until they were presented in court.
Meanwhile, the House Committee has threatened to order the arrest of one Dibiaezue Chuks if he fails again to appear before the committee to explain his role in the alleged forgery levelled against First Bank by owners of Whiteplains British School.
Dibiaezue, is an external solicitor to First Bank who was said to be one of the masterminds of the forged documents used in perfecting the purported tripartite mortgage agreement.
At the last sitting of the committee, despite an invitation extended to Dibiaezue, he did not come; a situation that forced the chairman to issue the threat of commencing steps to derobe him as a lawyer.
The committee has adjourned sitting to April 17 and 18, for continuation of hearing.
Representative of the AIG Legal, the Police IPO, officials of AGIS, CBN, members of the public attended the hearing.
Hon Abonta stressed that the committee is poised to get to the root of the allegation, insisting that a notarized document, is recognized globally and wonders why a lawyer should be accused of notarizing a forged document.
“This does not tell good of our country’s image abroad. A notarized document is trusted globally to be correct because it is signed by a notary public.
“We are not interested in the loan issue between First Bank and Whiteplains, because as a bank, you have every right to go after and protect your money.
“We don’t have any problem with the court judgment in respect of the loan, but it is elementary in law that something cannot stand on nothing,” Abonta added.