N34.8m land fraud: EFCC presents first witness against suspects

A prosecution witness, Clever Ibrahim, has told Justice Olusola Williams of the Special Ofences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos how two businessmen, Olufunmilade Adeyemi, Managing Director, Stealth Communication Limited, and Oganla Oladimeji, allegedly obtained the sum of N 34,800,000 under false pretence.

The suspected fraudsters were arraigned alongside a company, Stealth Communication Limited, sometime in July 2018 on a 10-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and possession of forged documents.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Olufunmilade Adeyemi, aka Alexander Moses, Stealth Communication Limited sometime in 2016 at Lagos within the Lagos judicial division, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N24, 000,000.00 (Twenty Four Million Naira) from Atu Okechukwu by falsely representing that the money was for the sale of some plots of land located at Complete Leisure Estate, Sangotedo area of Lagos State , which representation you knew to be false and committed an offence contrary to Section 312 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No 11 of 2011.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, September 17, 2018, Ibrahim, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that the defendants had sought the service of the complainant, Blessing Obiakwu, to source for prospective buyers for some non-existent pieces of land, obtained money for the said lands and also issued receipts.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, M.N. Anana, Ibrahim further said that “While investigation was ongoing, the first defendant was nowhere to be found and all efforts to locate him at his known addresses proved abortive. He was, thereafter, declared wanted.

“Sometime in March 2018, we got a call from the Economic and Organised Crimes in Accra, Ghana that the two defendants had been arrested.

“On getting to Ghana, we discovered that the second defendant had been released. So, we extradited the first defendant back to Nigeria.

“While in Ghana, Adeyemi was known as Alexander Moses.”

In his further testimony, Mr Ibrahim told the court that upon arrival in Nigeria, the first defendant told the investigators the whereabouts of the second defendant, thereby leading to his arrest.

The court admitted in evidence a copy of the petition received from the complainant by the prosecution.

However, when the prosecution counsel sought to tender the first defendant’s confessional statement, his counsel, O.A. Owolabi, opposed its admissibility on the grounds that it was not made voluntarily.

Consequently, Justice Williams adjourned to October 24, 2018 for trial within trial.