LAGOS— The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, began the trial of one Mr Peter Nwogu, who claimed to be a pastor, accused of defrauding some accommodation seekers of N52.3 million.
According to reports, the 52-year-old accused is being prosecuted before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of an Ikeja High Court.
The commission, had on March 18, arraigned Nwogu for the alleged offence and he was remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
During yesterday’s proceedings, the EFCC counsel, Mrs Olubunmi Bosede, called three witnesses to testify against the accused.
Testifying, Mrs Vivian Obinabo, an estate surveyor and valuer, told the court how the accused defrauded her clients between July and August 2013 in Lagos.
Obinabo said Nwogu placed advertisements for lease of property in some national newspapers using his outfits, Christian Defence Fellowship and Business Defence Solutions Limited.
She said the accused posed as the owner of the property situated at 6, Gerrard Road and 6, Olawale Dawodu Street, both in Ikoyi.
Obinabo said: “The accused scheduled a meeting between us and came with a convoy of mobile policemen.
“My clients, which included Manuchar Trading Company Ltd., Sony Flying Dove Ltd., Akintola Williams Delloite and Associated Press inspected the property. They expressed interest and demanded for a copy of the tenancy agreement before making payments.”
According to her, Nwogu obtained a total of N52.3 million from her clients as payments for rent and other sundry charges.
The witness said it was after the payments that she discovered that the accused was not the owner of both property.
She said this prompted her to petition the EFCC which eventually led to his arrest.
Also testifying, Mr Titus Olatunbosun, Property Manager, CSM Realtors, confirmed that his firm was the owner of the property allegedly used by Nwogu to defraud his victims.
Olatunbosun said the property was a block of apartments at 6, Olawale Dawodu St., in Ikoyi which was under renovation at the time of the incident.
In his testimony, Mr Kehinde Ogundehin, Assistant Marketing Manager, YM Construction Ltd., said his company owned the other property used by Nwogu for the scam.
Ogundehin said the property was a high-rise building at 6, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi and was under construction by his company.
The witnesses insisted that their firms did not authorise the accused or any other person to lease or sell the said property on their behalf.
The matter was adjourned till June 2 for continuation of trial.