A Special Offences Court in Lagos State has sentenced a Badagry Prince, Semasa James to prison for uttering documents while administering the estate of his father, late Oba Afolabi James of Kweme land, Badagry.
Semasa was charged alongside his personal assistant Afolabi Kazeem.
He is accused of defrauding his 26 siblings of N500million inheritance while administering the estate of the deceased king.
The Badagry prince is facing a seven-count charge of forgery, uttering of false document and fraudulent disposal of trust property proffered against him by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force.
His personal assistant faced a charge of receiving stolen property.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in her judgment found Semasa not guilty of the charges of forgery and fraudulent disposal of trust property noting that the prosecution failed to proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Taiwo found the royal prince guilty of three-counts of uttering of a false documents and sentenced him to a year in prison on each count which is to run concurrently or an option of N450,000 fine.
She said: “Based on the oral and documentary evidence, I find that the prosecution failed prove the three-counts of stealing beyond reasonable doubt.
“I find the defendant guilty of uttering a false document.
“I find the first defendant not guilty of fraudulent disposal of trust property.
“I find the second defendant (Kazeem) not guilty of receiving stolen property as the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the said N2million was stolen and he received same knowing it was stolen.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to one-year imprisonment or N450,000 fine.”
Prior to convicting and sentencing the first defendant, the judge had said that the case could have been resolved amicably in the family without the warring princes and princesses resorting to litigation.
“It is unfortunate that such a problem cannot be resolved amicably, instead of washing of the family their dirty linen in public.
“One wonders what legacy the elders in the family are leaving behind for the younger ones.
“It is suggested by the court that the family wipes clean the slate and start afresh,” she said
The judge suggested that to avoid future strife, the family should appoint more administrators to administer the estate of late Oba Afolabi James.