Nigeria: Two remanded In prison custody over alleged N33.6m fraud
Lagos, Dec. 11, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos office, on Tuesday arraigned the duo of Adesanya Paul and Ganiu Awojobi before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a four-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N33, 617.000.00 (Thirty-three Million, Six Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Naira).
The journey to court for the accused persons started when, one Oluwatoyin Akinwole wrote against them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC that sometime in 2017 the defendants who claimed to be into crude oil business, approached her to join them in the business.
Akinwole also alleged that she paid the defendants some amounts of money for the supply of crude oil.
She alleged further that the defendants neither repaid her nor supplied the crude oil and that they have bought exotic cars with the money.
One of the counts against them reads: “That you, Adesanya Olufemi and Awojobi Ganiu, sometime in 2017 at Lagos, within the Ikeja judicial Division, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N33, 617.000 (Thirty-Three Million, Six Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Naira) by false pretence property of Mrs. Oluwatoyin Akinwole on the representation that you are into crude oil business from which representation you knew was false”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them and in view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Daji Samuel, asked the court to commence trial, adding that he was ready to present his witness against the defendants.
He further urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody.
However, counsel to the first defendant, M. O. Balogun, and counsel to the second defendant, G. O. Osuyi, prayed the court for a very short date to enable them to move applications for bail on behalf of their clients.
In her ruling, Justice Dada ordered the prosecuting counsel to call his first witness, PW1, Akinwole, who is the complainant.
In her evidence, Akinwole, also known as Toyin Texas, narrated how she met the defendants.
The witness, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Daji, told the court that she was blackmailed and duped a sum of N75m by the defendants, whom she described as a syndicate of fraudsters.
Giving further evidence, she told the court that Awojobi, who presented himself as an Islamic cleric, lured her from the United States of America, USA, to Nigeria in November, 2017 under the pretext of praying for her.
She added that Paul, who claimed to be a businessman, on the other hand, defrauded her using a phony oil deal.
“Both Paul and Awojobi told me that my friend, Sherifat, had taken my name to a shrine and that if I received a call with my phone, I would die. I therefore, handed my phone to Paul. But he eventually claimed ownership of it”, she said.
She also told the court that Sherifat relayed a vision passed to her by Awojobi sometime in November 2016.
“This message, incidentally, came a month after the death of my younger sister. She told me that Awojobi said if I didn’t want to die the way my sister died, I should be fervent in prayers. So, I ran here and there to raise a sum of N30m”, she said.
The witness also gave details of a business agreement between her and the defendants, which went awry, saying, “When I later called Paul to ask about the business, he got angry initially. He told me that things were not going as planned because the money was not enough. “But he later paid back the money into my account, which made me to trust him more. Thereafter, he said he needed more money. Eventually, I ended up paying as much as N75m. The last batch of money, which was N31m, was paid into Awojobi’s bank account”, she said.
She also told the court that in December 2017, one of Paul’s boys called and told her that she had been defrauded.
The witness said: “I tried to arrest Paul with Military police, but they couldn’t recover my money. I also got him arrested with policemen in Osun and Ondo States, but he was soon allowed to go. I reported to operatives of the EFCC. He claimed that he was very sick and the EFCC granted him bail.
“But after his release, he went on the Internet, photoshoped and published nude photos of myself and him, claiming that he had sexual relationship with me, which was a lie!
“The EFCC also discovered transactions between Awojobi and Paul”.
Justice Dada ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the matter to December 19, 2018 for cross- examination of the defendant by the defenc