A developer and four estate agents have been arraigned before a magistrate’s court sitting in Lagos for allegedly collecting a sum of N19.4m from 56 persons under the guise of letting out a self-contained apartment on Yusuf Street in the Iyana Ipaja area of the state.
We gathered that the accused persons – Chief Adeoye Ogundipe (70), Chief Wasiu Jinadu (62), Tajudeen Bamidele (54), Gbolagade Sanusi (58) and Tajudeen Idowu (40) – allegedly collected the money from the unsuspecting victims between September and October, 2014.
We also learnt that each of the complainants was duped of a sums ranging from N100, 000 to N250,000.
While the agents – Ogundipe, Jinadu, Bamidele and Sanusi made N7.2m from the ‘deal’, the developer, Idowu, whom residents in the area identified also as Bashiru, got N12.2m.
It was said that the victims paid the money after the defendants had taken them to the apartment, which they were individually promised to occupy as soon as it was completed.
It was also revealed that the syndicate’s antics blew open when two of the prospective tenants met at the apartment.
A police team was said to have gone after the suspected fraudsters after the case was reported at the Gowon Estate Police Division.
On Friday, when our correspondent visited the detached apartment with the inscription “Bashiru is wanted,” its window glass had not been fixed. Some parts of its roof were also yet to be covered.
The defendants were arraigned before the magistrate, Mrs. O.A. Olayinka, on three counts of conspiracy and fraud.
It was, however, learnt that the agents had been prosecuted in the court while the developer was at large.
The charges read in part, “That you Tajudeen Idowu, Adeoye Ogundipe, Wasiu Jinadu, Tajudeen Bamidele and Gbolagade Sanusi did between the months of September and October, 2014 at 27 Yusuf Street Iyana Ipaja in the Ikeja Magisterial District conspire to commit felony by unlawfully collecting a sum of N19, 478, 000 from one Ague Loveth and 55 others.
“That you did on the same month and place in the aforementioned magisterial district conspire to defraud one Agu Loveth and 55 others to the tune of N19, 478,000 under the pretence that you will secure a self-contained apartment for them.”
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges which the police said were contrary to and punishable under sections 323 and 321 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
While the four estate agents were admitted to bail in the sum of 1m with two sureties each in like sum, the developer was granted bail in the sum of N5m with three sureties who, according to the magistrate, must be level 12 civil servants working for the state government.
Olayinka adjourned the matter till December 4, 2014.