The Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has convicted and sentenced an Italian woman, Floriana De Stefani, to three years imprisonment for laying claim to a property belonging to her landlord, Waterside Properties Limited.
Justice Mojisola Dada jailed the foreigner after she found her guilty of one of the six counts brought against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge, in her judgment, held that the convict used forged documents to claim the property where she was a tenant after the death of her husband, Luca Signorelli.
The court specifically found her guilty of using false documents and counterfeit seals to confer ownership of the property on herself.
The EFCC had on March 30, 2019, arraigned the convict alongside a Nigerian Stella Ogboru on five counts but later amended the charge to six counts and drop the name of her co-defendant from the charge.
She was charged with offences bordering on forgery, stealing of property and use of false documents and counterfeit seals.
The foreigner had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which led to her trial.
In his plea for mercy, the defence counsel, Babatunde Ogungbamila, urged the judge to temper justice with mercy, stating that the aged Italian and widow was a first-time offender who was misled by her former lawyer.
While handing down the three years sentence, Justice Dada also ordered the release of the property to Waterside Properties Limited within three weeks.
She, however, gave the convict an option of a N50 million fine which must be paid within three weeks from Friday or else she will have to serve the jail term.
One of the amended charges read, “That you, Floriana De-Stefani sometime in 2015, within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable court, dishonestly converted for your use, a property known and situated at No.14A/B Warring Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, a property of Waterside Properties Limited.”
Another count read, “That you, Floriana De-Stefani sometime in the year 2015 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court with dishonest intention forged a document titled “Deed Of Assignment” dated 1983, allegedly prepared by Rosamond O. Bakare: purported to have been entered between Mr E.A. Lowo on behalf of Waterside Properties Limited, on the first part and late Lucas Signorelli and Mrs Floriana De-Stefani, on the second part.”
“That you, Floriana De-Stefani sometime in the year 2015 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court with dishonest intention forged a document titled “Extract from the extraordinary General Meeting of Waterside Properties Limited dated 17th Of June, 1983; purported to have been made in preparation for the dissolution of Waterside Properties Limited,” another count read.