Justice Olubusola Okunuga of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, has been told how a fugitive businessman, Temitope Omogbeja allegedly defrauded a bureau de change operator, Ali Nuhu, of twenty million naira on the pretext of supplying him with the dollar equivalent.
Omogbeja is standing trial alongside his company, Teejahm Integrated Service Ltd, on a two count charge of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
The witness, while being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, counsel, Ms Chineye Okezie, told the court that he knew the defendant through his friend named Terrence.
The bureau de change operator said he paid the defendant the said sum after he approached him that he had 35,000 USD in America to sell.
He said: “After giving him the naira equivalent, he sent him an email that the bank sent an email to him that the 35,000USD was paid to the Wespalo account I gave him.
“I told him it is not a telex copy but he said that is how they make their own payment and that I should confirm the following day. Nothing was in the account when I checked the following day.
“I informed the defendant that the money was not there and he told me that I should inform the owner of the account to wait that in five working days, the money will reflect, yet to no avail.
“The defendant later said I should hold on that he will look for another money to send to the account but the owner of the money said since he cannot pay another dollar, I should refund the naira back,”
The witness further told the court that he reported the case to EFCC after the defendant relocated from Lagos to Abuja and all attempts made to retrieve the money from him proved abortive.
“After so much persistence, the defendant paid one million naira into my account and he refused to pick my calls.
“I explained to the owner of the money who told me to report to EFCC after the defendant ran to Abuja.
“The defendant did not honour the EFCC invitation which resulted in the commission tracking him to Abuja and repatriating him back to Lagos,” the witness said.
In a cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr S.A. Adisa, the witness said the payment was made Oct.8, 2021 and he had known the defendant for seven years when they started a business relationship sincerely in 2014.
The bureau de change operator confirmed that the business involved buying and selling and that the defendant had delivered in a previous transaction.
He said that the account that the defendant was supposed to pay the 35,000 USD was a company account and he did not have a personal relationship with the beneficiaries of the company.
“It is my brother that knows the beneficiaries of the company and the woman whom my brother knows from the company said she did not receive the 35,000 USD,” he said.
The witness further confirmed to the court that his lawyer wrote the petition to EFCC on his behalf.
Justice Okunuga adjourned the case until Dec. 1 for continuation of trial