Mrs Atinuke Pedetin-James, princess of Kweme Land of Badagry, Lagos on Wednesday alleged that Semasa, her brother and also sole administrator of their late father’s estate, cheated his 26 siblings of N500 million.
Pedetin-James, testifying in an Ikeja Special Offences Court, said that the N500 million was inheritance from their father, late Oba Afolabi James of Kweme Land, Badagry, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prince and princesses had taken Semasa to court over alleged embezzlement of N500 million belonging to the estate of the late king.
The family alleged that Semasa illegally leased, as well sold some of the estate’s property, keeping the bulk of the proceeds to himself.
While being led in evidence by Mr O. O Olabisi, the prosecutor for the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Pedetin-James, alleged that her brother excluded other members of the royal family from their share of the inheritance.
“My father is late. He left vast properties in areas such as Victoria Island, Adegoke, Dideolu Estate etc.
“The estate was being managed by Semasa and we did not know much about everything. He paid N150 million into his account.
“He also said the estate owed him N40 million, in the interest of peace, we didn’t contest his claim.
“He ended up keeping N190 million for himself and he shared N110 million for the rest of us . I got N5million,” she said.
While being cross-examined by Mr Martins Oyigbo, Semasa’s defence counsel, she insisted that her brother was the only active administrator of their late father’s estate.
“The N500million in the charge sheet that he allegedly stole was sourced from the estate, the auditor the family hired to investigate my brother’s dealings with the estate’s property arrived at that figure,” Pedetin-James said.
NAN reports that Semasa and Afolabi Kazeem are facing trial over a seven-count charge of conspiracy, cheating, stealing, forging of company resolution, fraudulent disposing of trust property and forgery.
The duo denied the charges.
According to the SFU, the prince fraudulently converted N500million property belonging to the late king between 2000 and 2017 in Lagos.
The prosecution alleges that Semasa had fraudulently sold a property located at Plot 1440, Ilesanmi St., Itire Road, Surulere, Lagos to a private individual.
He illegally leased another property located Plot 282 Ajose Adeogun St., Victoria Island, Lagos
to Ecobank Plc.
Semasa had also allegedly forged some purchase receipts of his late father’s property.
The SFU claim that Kazeem’s alleged role was as an accomplice in defrauding the late king’s estate.
Kazeem allegedly connived with Semasa to trick the beneficiaries of the late king of N150 million which was part of the proceeds of sale of a property located at Dideolu Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The offences contravene Sections 383(1), 383(2) (f), 390(9), 421,434, 465 and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case till Dec. 12 and 13 for continuation of trial. (NAN)