An investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Abuja, Linus Gubbi, Thursday told a Lagos High Court that the Synagogue Church of all Nation, SCOAN procured a false prototype of the collapsed guest house that killed about 116 persons.
Gubbi made the revelation while testifying in the trial of two engineers — Akinbela Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji who are facing trial alongside their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company Jandy Trust Ltd and trustees of the Synagogue church.
They are facing a 111-count charge of gross negligence and criminal manslaughter over the collapse of a six-storey guest house to which they plead not guilty.
At Thursday’s proceeding, Gubbi an Assistant Chief Superintendent of Investigation told the court that he has worked with the Special Duties Department of the ICPC for 14 years.
The investigator said the ICPC had received a petition forwarded to them by the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
The petition had alleged that one Mr George Akinfenwa had illegally used the COREN registration number R8718 and seal belonging to an engineer Mr Omotayo Shogo to create the false prototype.
He said that the church had allegedly connived with the fourth defendant (Oladele Ogundeji) to create a false prototype of the guest house after its collapse to present to Lagos State Government at the Coroners inquest as the original prototype.
While being led in evidence by Shitta-Bey, he said “One Mr George Akinfenwa and one Mr George who are both at large, met up with Ogundeji to come up with a prototype of the collapsed building.
“Their meeting was held at Ade Super Hotel in Akure, Ondo State.
“The three men came to Lagos and had a meeting with one Mr Ikechi who is the secretary of T.B Joshua where they discussed the modalities of coming up with a prototype.
“It was agreed that Akinfenwa would be paid N5million and Ogundeji who would head the team at the Coroners court established by Lagos State Government to investigate the collapse would be paid N25million,” he said.
Gubbi told the court that fake COREN stamps and seals attributed to Shogo were used to authenticate the prototype of the building.
‘Akinfenwa, George and Ogundeji came up with the prototype design of the Synagogue Church modelled after the collapsed building.
“We found out that the stamp and seal used by Akinfenwa was procured at Area 11, Garki Abuja and it actually belongs to Engineer Omotayo Shogo who is a mechanical engineer and not a structural engineer.”
Gubbi said that Akinfenwa and Ajala are currently on the run and efforts by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the police to apprehend them has been unsuccessful.
The investigator after his testimony was cross-examined by the four lawyers to the defendants.
While answering questions from Mr Oluseye Diyan, counsel to the trustees of SCOAN, Gubbi told the court that he could not recollect the number of persons he interviewed during his investigation.
He admitted not finishing his final report of his investigation due to the fact that two suspects (Akinfenwa and Ajala) are currently at large.
Responding to questions from Chief Efe Akpofure (SAN), representing Hardrock Construction Company Ltd, the investigator admitted not meeting Mr Ikechi, the Secretary to Prophet T.B Joshua in person while investigating the case.
He noted that he never visited the premises of SCOAN neither did he investigate the source of the N5million and N5million allegedly given to Akinfenwa and Ogundeji by the church.
While being cross-examined by Mrs Titi Akinlawon, counsel to Fatiregun, a document which was allegedly the original prototype of the SCOAN building was shown to him which he did not recognise.
Akinlawon told the investigator that the document was the prototype design of the guest house used by the church before the building collapsed.
While fielding questions from Mr Olalekan Ojo, counsel to Ogundeji and Jandy Trust Ltd, Gubbi told the court that during investigations he went to Area 11 of Garki Abuja where the seal and stamps of the false prototype were allegedly forged but could not locate the printer who was involved in the forgery.
Gubbi also added that the results of his investigation were sourced mainly from the statements and interviews of the suspects as well as an analysis of the evidence he had gathered.
Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the case until Oct. 5, Oct. 6, Oct. 19, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 for opening of defence.