TWO businessmen, Jimoh Aremu Oderinde and Sheriff Olaseni Ajaga, have been arraigned before an Ikeja High Court, for allegedly defrauding a businessman, Mr Jimoh Oyesiji, of N30.7 million.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the defendants on a seven-count charge of obtaining money falsely, punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006.
An EFCC operative, Mr Kajethan Egerue, told Justice Kudirat Jose, that he knew the defendants, following a petition by one Oyesiji dated February 9, last year.
Egerue, led in evidence by EFCC lawyers, Mrs Vera Agboje and Olakunle Afolabi, said the defendants collected the money from the complainant as cost to facilitate the release of his goods seized by officials of the Nigeria Custom Service, supposedly acting on the order of their boss.
Relating how the complainant was duped, the witness said in 2014, the complainant imported 8,000 bags of rice which were seized by Customs.
He said the first defendant promised to assist him to secure the release of the goods through his contact in the Presidency.
According to him, the first defendant, Oderinde organised a meeting with the complainant during which the second defendant, Ajaga, acted as George Olawale, and assured their victim that he had discussed his matter with the former Customs boss, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.
He said the first defendant collected N200,000, while the second accepted N1 million to facilitate a meeting between them and Dikko.
The witness said: ‘’The second defendant later instructed their victim to transfer N29.5 million through his FirstBank account to secure the release of the goods but no goods were released after the transaction.’’
He further told the court that the operative then wrote the bank to get account details of Olawale and the bank responded.
”From the response we got from the bank, we discovered that the sum of N29.5 million was paid by the complainant. We also got to know that N7 million was transferred to one Toyin Oderinde, wife of first defendant while another N7 million was transferred to second defendant’s Diamond Bank account.
“When Toyin Oderinde was invited, she said her husband (Sheriff) transferred the money into her account,” the witness said, adding that the development led to the arrest of the second defendant.
The witness further told the court that the second defendant used N7.8 million to purchase Honda Accord, 2014 model, adding that the car was later collected from him and registered as exhibit.
He said he, however, promised to refund the balance.
The witness further said the first defendant transferred his share of the money to Agro Company Limited to buy a tractor. He refunded N2 million.
However, under cross examination by the defendants’ counsel, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, the witness, said he carried out discreet investigation which revealed that there was no prior business transaction between the complainant and defendants.
Egerue said he did not come across anything showing that the defendants have a quarry business before the incident.