A Nigeria contractor, Fagbenro Oyebode Olukayode, has been arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly defraud of a hotel, Rebisi Hotel Limited and one Seidougha Munamuna a foreigner of the sum of N25 million.
Fagbenro was arraigned on Friday, by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of Nigeria Police Force, Ikoyi-Lagos, before Justice Saliu Saidu led-court, on a five count-charge of conspiracy, money laundering and obtaining under false pretence.
Arraigning the defendant, the prosecutor, Mr. Chukwu Agwu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), told the court that the defendants and one Charles Tacquard Patillo, now at large, sometimes in January 2017, fraudulently obtained the sum of N25 million from Olurotimi Solarin, the representative of the hotel, as part payment of N2.5 billon for construction 54-bed luxury hotels complex Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Agwu told the court that the defendants received the money through their Sterling bank Plc’s account number 0061997218.
He also informed the court that the defendants upon receiving the money from the victims, failed to use it for the intended purposes. Adding that to conceal the source of the money, the defendants between February 8 and 10, 2017, used a company, Y3BS Enterprises account no. 2612379016 domiciled at First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and laundered the sum of $25,000 USD equivalent to Charles Tacquard Patilo’s account no. 8900-624-744 domiciled at United States Federal Savings.
The contractor was also alleged to have converted the sum of N3, 655, 600 million through their Guaranty Trust Bank Plc account number: 0010551720 transferred from Momentum Cachet Production Company Limited account 0061997218 domiciled at Sterling Bank Plc Lagos, being part of the N25 million, which he fraudulently received from victims.
Agwu told the court that the offence committed by the defendants are contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a), 1(a)(c)(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006 and section 15(1)(a)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended in 2012).
The contractor pleaded not guilty to the charge against him and his company.
Upon the contractor’s not guilty plea, his lawyer, Kolapo Sogbetun, told the court that he was just briefed of the case on that day. He pleader with the court to release the defendant, whom he said was his childhood friend, to him pending when his bail application would be filed and determined.
Sogbetun, who told the court that he is a son to former justice in Nigeria, said he shall ensure the defendant’s attendant in court until the determination of the charge.
The prosecutor, told the court that though, the defendant has been granted administrative bail but he is a ‘flight risk’.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Saidu, while adjourned the matter till Friday, April 12, for hearing of the defendant’s bail application, released him to his lawyer and ordered the lawyer to ensure that the defendant is in court on the adjourned date.
Count one of the charges against the defendant reads: “that you Fagbenro Oyebode Olukayode, A. ‘M’, Momentum Cachet Production Company Limited, Charles Tacquard Patillo and others now at large, sometimes in January 2017, in Lagos and Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of the honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit felony to wit: obtaining under false pretence of the sum of N25, 000, 000 (twenty Five million Naira) and money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006.
Another count reads: “that you Fagbenro Oyebode Olukayode, A. ‘M’, Momentum Cachet Production Company Limited, Charles Tacquard Patillo and others now at large, on the same time and place within the jurisdiction of the honourable court, with intent to defraud, fraudulently received the sum of N25,000,000 million (twenty five million Naira) from Rebisi Hotels Limited and Seidougha Munamuna ‘M’, represented by one Olurotimi Solarin ‘M’ through your Sterling Bank Plc account number 0061997218, as ‘Financing Commitment Fees’, on the understanding that you will provide the sum of N2.5 billion, for completion of building of 54-bed luxury three star hotels Complex in Government Reserve Area (GRA) of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(a)(c) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006