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The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Monday, March 18, 2024 presented its second witness in the alleged £1 million fraud involving Morufu Adewale (aka Gbegulerin Adelana), Omitogun Ajayi, Ajisegiri Abiodun, Abayomi Alaka (aka Dauda Usman Alashe), Taiwo Ahmed, Raufu Raheem, and Sanlabiu Teslim, before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

The defendants were re-arraigned before Justice Oshodi in December 2022 on three counts following the reassignment of the case file from Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, before whom they were first arraigned on February 3, 2022.

Count one reads: “Morufu Yahaya Adewale, Omitogun Ajayi, Ajisegiri Abiodun, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, Taiwo Olamilekan Ahmed, Raufu Wale Raheem and Sanlabiu Owolabi Teslim between May and July 2018 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division obtained the total sum of £1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds Sterling) from Dr. and Dr. (Mrs) Lateef Oladimeji Bello to conduct prayers for spiritual cleansing of the family and that the money will be refunded after the prayers within one week, which pretence you knew to be false.”

Count three reads: “Morufu Yahaya Adewale, Omitogun Ajayi, Ajisegiri Abiodun, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, Taiwo Olamilekan Ahmed, Raufu Wale Raheem and Sanlabiu Owolabi Teslim between August and September 2018 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division obtained the total sum of N175,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Seventy-five Million Naira Only) from Dr. and Dr. (Mrs) Lateef Oladimeji Bello to conduct spiritual prayers for spiritual cleansing of their son and the family and that the money will be refunded one week after the prayers which pretence you knew to be false.”

They all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to them,   prompting the commencement of their trial.

At Monday’s proceeding, a witness, Moruf Quadri, who has been the chauffeur of the victim, Dr. Lateef Bello for 25 years, narrated how he drove his boss to various remote places for the “spiritual cleansing” of the family, and how the syndicate at various times, collected various sums of money in Naira and foreign currencies from his boss, in a now uncovered well-organised fraud.

Led in evidence by N.K. Ukoha, the witness, who testified in Yoruba language, identified Sanlabiu Teslim, Taiwo Olamilekan (identified as Ifakehinde), Raufu Raheem (identified as Ifakunle), Omitogun Ajayi, and Ajisegiri (identified as Baba Ogunlaiye).

“In May 2018, myself, Baba Sanlabiu, my boss, Dr. Bello, we went to Ikenne, and when we got there, he came down with his son, and they entered one house, while I remained in the car, and they spent about two hours,” he said.

He testified further, that afterwards, he had to drive his boss along with some members of the syndicate to some strange places inside the bush in Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State, and Igbogbo in Ikorodu, Lagos State.

According to him, there were many times that he had to drive his boss to such remote places that only a four-wheel drive vehicle could reach there. “We went to Ijebu-Igbo, we took about eight hours to get there, and when we got there, they took about three hours inside, while I waited, before they came out.

“On our way back, we dropped Omitogun back in Ikorodu and we came back home to Lagos. We also, at various times, received money from one aboki who does bureau de change for onward transmission to Ifakunle.”

According to him, he bought as many as 25 ghana-must-go-bags on the instruction of his boss, which were used to hand over money to Ifakunle.  He testified further that at some point in time, they were made to buy “big rams”, which were handed over to members of the syndicate.

According to him, they were later made to get a box, in which the money meant for the spiritual cleansing was to be kept. He also narrated how he got to know Ajisegiri at the LTV studio in Agidingbi, Lagos.

“My boss asked me to deposit money in his Eco Bank account, two times,” he said.

He told the court that his boss was so much extorted that he no longer had a functional car as there was no more money to repair his vehicles or buy new one.

“It was one rickety car that I took loan from my boss to buy that I had to use to drive him to one of the placed where he was asked to bring money, and it was on our way back that we entered a gallop, and he suddenly was jolted, and he said, ‘ha, I have been swindled by this people,” he said.

According to him, his boss had gone to the house in Ijebu-Igbo where the box of money was kept, only to find out that the money was gone.

He further testified that he was invited by the EFCC for interrogation and that he volunteered his statement.  Under cross-examination by counsel to the first defendant, Adebayo Adegbite, he admitted that he never entered the various houses that they went to.

He thereafter identified copies of the statements he made to the EFCC, which were both in Yoruba and English languages.

The case was adjourned till March 19, 2024 for further cross-examination.

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