Monday, May 16, 2016 10:02 pm
By Gbenro Adesina
As Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC officially announced the commencement of its operation in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. It arraigned its first accused, Bisi Lillian Olagunju today before the state Chief Judge, Justice Justice Munta Oladapo Abimbola for allegedly swindling Abiodun Julius, 35, a Kano based phone and accessories dealers, who is also her church member, of N9m.
Olagunju, who attends Celestial Church of Christ, CCC with her victim, a 2007 graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Minna, was arraigned on a three count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence.
The case, with charge no. T/EFCC/201, according to the charge sheet states that the accused obtained money by false pretence from his victim contrary to section 1 (1) (a) and 1 (3) of the advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
According to EFCC, the accused, who allegedly claimed to be a Special Adviser to an Urban and Rural Development Committee Chairman of the National Assembly, was arrested and charged sequel to a petition from one Abiodun Julius. He alleged that he paid her the total sum of N9m in tranches to help him secure a job for his brother at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and also facilitate contracts for the supply of computers to the National Assembly.
“That you Bisi Lillian Olagunju sometime in November 2015 at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N5million from one Abiodun Julius under the false pretence that money represented part payment to secure a contract for the supply of computers to the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and which pretence you knew was false”, EFCC statement claimed. The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against her.
In his ruling, Justice Abimbola, granted her bail in the sum of N10m and two sureties in like sum who must be residents within the jurisdiction and must have sufficient evidence of ownership of properties to be verified by the EFCC. He ordered that the accused should deposit her international passport with the court Registrar and be remanded at Agodi Prison pending the perfection of the bail condition. He then adjourned the case to 13th and 14th of June, 2016.
Earlier, before the commencement of the case in the court, the victim, in a chat, gave details of how he was duped by Olagunju, a woman he described as a Mother in Israel.
In his account, he said the fraudster was introduced to him on November 16 2015 at CCC branch in Monatan by the Parish Pastor, Evangelist Solomon Adekoya, a retired soldier, during a special prayer meeting.
“I came from Kano to Ibadan for prayer meeting. The clergyman introduced the woman to me as a daughter because she is the daughter of his late friend with whom he served in the military. She claimed to be a special adviser to the chairman of a committee in National Assembly, Abuja as well as a lawyer. In the course of our interaction, she told me that within three weeks, she could help me secure a job at NSDC for my jobless brother, Johnson. She said it would cost me N500, 000 which I gave her. She is mother Celestial, the highest position a woman can get to in the church. She said that because she is an SA in the National Assembly, she couldn’t be allowed to bid for contracts in government saying that we could join hands together to do business and I agreed. She said that there was a job slot in National Assembly worth N9m and that she could help me secure it but I will pay her 10 percent of the contract worth. Breaking it down, the first slot is supply of certain materials to National Assembly worth N3.5m, and the other supply of 52 computer sets worth N5m totalling N8.5m. She said that the bid for the job would close within four days”.
She continued: “Because she is my church member who is Mother Celestial, I trusted her and transferred N5m to her. Later I sent N3.5m making N8m. When I could not raise the balance of N1.5m, she said that I should not worry and that she would assist me to add the balance and that the moment the contracts were awarded and I executed the job and I was paid, I should refund her what she lent me. Later she called me to tell me that NSDC has offered my brother a job and that we should print the appointment letter online waiting for when he would be transferred to Port Harcourt where he would work. I was shocked at that and I said that why will NSDC issue a letter through internet. But nothing happened.
“ Five months after I had given her the N8.5m for my contracts, I didn’t hear from her and she promised that the job would be out within five weeks. I went to her in her Kubwa residence. And she said that I should calm down and that if the job didn’t come out within few days, she would refund me my money. After that, I could not reach her through her phone numbers again. But later, I was told that she was in Ibadan lodging in one hotel in Gbagi. Then I informed the NSDC people in Ibadan and we both went there and arrested her. She was arrested either Thursday or Friday and transferred to EFCC the following Monday”.
The magazine further learnt that the accused was about to travel to USA when she was arrested.