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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, presented its first prosecution witness, PW1, Odofin Adekunle Christopher, an investigator with the EFCC, against one Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, an alleged serial fraudster, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

Alaka was arraigned on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on stealing, retention and dealing in the sale of property subject to interim forfeiture, an offence contrary to Section 32(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.

Count one reads: “Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, sometime in July 2021 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, and without due authorization, did sell and dispose of a newly renovated story building situated at No. 22, PSSDS Road, Magodo Phase 2, Magodo Lagos, which you knew was subject of forfeiture vide a valid court order and thereby committed an offence”.

Count three reads: “Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, sometime in July, 2021, at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court at Lagos, did obtain and retain the total sum of N200, 000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira) only from the fraudulent sales of a newly renovated stores building situated at No. 22, PSSDS Road, Magodo Phase 2, Magodo Lagos, which you knew to be subject of forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence”.

The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

Given his plea, prosecution counsel, N. K. Ukoha,  had asked the court for a trial date and that the accused be remanded at a correctional facility.

Counsel to defendant, Olalekan Ojo, SAN,   earlier informed the court of the bail application of his client.

Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the matter till June 26, 2024 for the commencement of trial.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel at Wednesday’s sitting, Adekunle told the court that the case was assigned for investigations, to the Special Committee, Team B, EFCC Headquarters, Abuja, of which he is the Team Lead.

In his testimony, he said: “I know the defendant. He is Alaka, also known as Awise. Sometime in May 2021, the Commission received a petition bordering on the alleged case of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, criminal breach of trust and money laundering against the defendant, Alaka and two others.

“The petition was assigned to Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section, FEMS, Team C, at the EFCC Headquarters. I was the Head at the time. The team investigated the case, concluded the investigation, wrote reports of the same, and forwarded it to the Legal Unit and then, the case was charged to court.

Giving further evidence, he told the court that, “The case of a criminal charge is currently going on before Justice  Adeyemi-Ajayi of the FCT, Abuja.  In the course of investigating the case, the proceeds of fraud were reasonably traced to five (5) properties of the defendant. They are: a  newly renovated storey building with boys’ quarters situated at No. 22, PSSDC Road, Magodo Phase 2, Magodo Estate, Lagos; an uncompleted block of flats located at No.2, Adeneye Street, Oke-Oriya, Ikorodu, Lagos;  an uncompleted Event Centre named Alaka Event Centre located at No.2, Adeneye Street, Oke-Oriya, Ikorodu, Lagos;
a newly renovated filling station named Alaka Oil and Gas located at No.2, Adeneye Street, Oke-Oriya, Ikorodu, Lagos, and a vast land located at Ashipa Town, Shiun, Abeokuta, Ogun State, which is used as a shrine to deceive the complainant to part with her hard-earned resources”.

According to him, investigations revealed that the defendant and two others defrauded one-Julieth Bright of over N200 million on the pretext that they could cure her of HIV disease.

He said the Commission, thereafter, approached the FHC Abuja, seeking temporary forfeiture of the properties.

He said: “Based on the Commission’s application, Justice A. I. Chikere of the FHC Abuja, on June 28, 2021, ordered the interim forfeiture of the five properties, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

“While the investigation was still going on, the Commission received intelligence that the property at No. 22 PSSD, Magodo, Lagos State had been sold by the defendant, despite the court order and ongoing investigation.

“Given this, the Commission invited the defendant on January 10, 2022, and cautioned him in the presence of his lawyer, Ali Apanisile.

“The cautionary word was interpreted to him and he made a statement through his lawyer.

“In that statement, he never denied owing this property; he never denied selling the property and he never denied the existing court order on the same property.”

The witness further told the court that during the investigation, one Olajide Kabiru Alayo was invited on March 18, 2024 to the Commission in Lagos,  where he made statements in respect of the defendant regarding the sales of the property.

The witness further told the court that “Olajide Kabiru Alayo is Managing  Director of OOP Properties Finance. He bought the same property for his agent, Eniola Olowoshile. While Alayo was in the Commission, he submitted a letter of offer dated July 19, 2021 to the Commission  from the defendant.

“He also brought the Deed of Assignment between the defendant and his client duly signed by defendant.

“In addition, he brought twelve (12) photocopies of bank drafts: ten (10) UBA Bank drafts of N10million on each of them dated July 21, 2021; one (1) Zenith Bank draft of N10 million dated July 21, 2021 and one (1) Access Bank draft dated July 22, 2021. The person who received these bank drafts from Olajide Kabiru was Giwa Rasheed Babajide”.

He said the Commission, therefore, sent letters to UBA  to furnish it with the account details of OOP Properties Finance.

Continuing, he said: “The Commission  received a response from them and the same was analysed.

“The investigation revealed that Olajide Kabiru Alayo is the sole signatory to this account.

“ On July 22, 2021,  a total of seventeen (17) banker cheques were raised from that account totalling  N170 million in favour of Alaka Oil and Gas owned by the defendant.

“On July 26, 2021, N20 million was transferred from OOP Properties Finance company to one Giwa Babatunde, the person who received the drafts on behalf of the defendant.”

While giving further evidence , the PW1 added that “investigation revealed that defendant,  in total disobedience to and having no regard to the rule of law, knowing fully well that there is an existing court order on the same property while the investigation is still going on, went ahead and sold same”.

The prosecution counsel then showed some documents, including a Court order dated June 28, 2021, statements made by the defendant,  Alayo’s statement, the Deed of Assignment, photocopy of bank drafts and the offer letter, to the witness for identification.

When he applied to tender them in evidence against the defendant, there was an objection to some of the documents from the defence counsel.

Justice Dada admitted all the documents in evidence as Exhibits P1 to P4.  The Judge adjourned the matter till September 25, and October 3, 2024 for the continuation of trial.

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