By IFEANYI OKOLIE

Three suspected fraudsters including a lawyer are correctly cooling off at the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, Milverton Ikoyi, Lagos, following their arrest recently by detectives from the SFU, who got wind of their criminal activities in cloning Certificates of Occupancy.

The fraudsters who operate a close knitted syndicate in the state met their waterloo after they successfully duped their unsuspected victim of a whopping sum of N24m in a purported land deal using a fake C of O.

Police sources said, the suspects who were identified as Sheu Kabiru, Samuel Ajibola and Bar. Rotimi Akintokun were apprehended following a petition made by one of their victims Kami Olaleye, who claimed he was swindled off the sum of N24m after he read through an advertisement in of the National dailies of May 2008, where a piece of land at Magodo GRA II, Shangisha, Lagos, was placed for sale.

*The suspects Sheu Kabiru, Samuel Ajibola and Bar. Rotimi Akintokun

He said he paid the said sum to the lawyer, Rotimi Akintokun, of No.1, Balogun Street, Ikeja, who acted then as lawyer to the family. An old woman and two others who posed as the real owners of the land executed Deed of Assignment and they also issued the victim a receipt.

But Kami Olaleye, was shocked when he discovered that the C. of O. and letter of allocation given to him by the owners were all faked on verification at the Land Registry, Alausa.

Following their arrest Sheu Kabiru, 54-year-old man from Kwara State, confessed to the crime and explained that the syndicate operates with Rotimi Akintokun as their lawyer and ring leader. He also said Akintokun assigns roles to all members of the syndicate.

He introduced one old woman from Ikorodu to pose as the real owner of the land, one Iya Osa as her daughter, Jibola as mama’s son, one Lekan Dudu who produced the fake documents, then one Tope as a member of Tokosi family, and Ibe who acted as the agent.

The money was paid into the Rotimi’s account and he was the one who shared the money to all of us. Rotimi said 10 percent of the money was meant for security, 25 percent for himself, 20 percent for Ibe. “I and four others were given N11.5million and my own share N3m, Jibola took 2.5m and Tobe got and others N2.5m”.

When asked how he spent his own share of the loot. Kabiru said he used part of it to process a Visa to Tunisia, which turned out to be fake when he travelled to Tunis and was turned back. But some of the money was spent on clothes and I gave some to my girlfriend. But the situation of the country led me into fraud,” he admitted.

Samuel Ajibola, who impersonated the real owner’s son as Basiru Tokosi, hails from Okewa in Oro-ago Kwara State. He claimed that he was introduced into the business of fraud by Sheu Kabiru.

“It was Sheu Kabiru who assigned me the role of the son of the actual owner of the land, Abibatu Tokosi. But I don’t know how they got the C. of O. But the whole transaction took place in the lawyer’s office at Ikeja and the lawyer also coordinated the share of the loots. He gave me N12million naira cheque to withdraw the same day. My own share was just N2million and I spent them in buying a Nissan Primera Car for N800,000. I rented a room and parlour at No. 48, Adebowale Ojodu Sabo and furnished it. I also did some shopping,” he said.

But Rotimi Akintokun, the alleged leader of the syndicate who hails from Ijebu-Ijesha in Osun State denied having any knowledge of fraud. He narrated how he was lured into the syndicate. According to him “George Ibeh introduced me to one Mrs. Tokosi and her children and then and they gave me the C of O which I took to confirm the genuineness at the registrar in Alausa Record Room, before the sum of N24million was paid into my account.”

He also explained that the advertisement of the land in the National dailies was done by George Ibeh who acted as an agent to the owner of the land. There is no doubt that the whole transaction was done in my office and that signed all the necessary documents, but I had no knowledge that the C.of O was faked.

He also gave the name of all members of the syndicate as Mr. Bashiru, Jibola, Alfa Sheu Kabiru( Mama Tokosi)Iya Ikorodu (her daughter) Iya Osa (Mr. George Ibeh and himself. He admitted receiving N8million as the money accruable to him while N 5million was given to George Ibeh. The remaining N11 million was shared by the rest.

The Commissioner of Police in Charge of the SFU Chinweke Asadu told Crime Guard that all the arrest suspects wwould be charged to court at the completion of investigations. He also assured that the police will go after all those who participated in the fraud.

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