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Fake travel agent defrauds Aba trader of N1.7m in visa scam

By Onozure Dania

Lagos—A fake travel agent,  Benjamin Danbawa, was yesterday arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, for allegedly duping an Aba, Abia State-based trader of N1,703,000.

The trader, Ifeanyi Chikwelu, 28, who came to Lagos from Aba, in March last year to seek a visa to Canada, reportedly met Danbawa, 41, in front of the German Consulate at Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Danbawa introduced himself as a travel agent and proposed to assist him in procuring the visa.

Danbawa allegedly told Chikwelu that an application for a Canadian or United States of America, USA, visa would not be in his favour since both embassies preferred to give visas to elderly people.

He advised Chikwelu to seek a German or South African visa.

The prosecutor, Sergeant Cyriacus Osuji, told the Court that the defendant, who hails from Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, allegedly billed Chikwelu various sums, totalling N1, 703,000.

He alleged that the defendant collected the sums under different guise: visa application fee, N150,000; acceptance fee ‘as a fresher in Canada’, N98,000, and Temporary Residence Fee, N400,000.

Others are N400,000, to put Chikwelu’s bank account ‘in order’; N35,000 for hotel reservation; another N35,000 for a cancelled hotel reservation and N70,000 as agent services.

The fees also included N35,000 for photos, N150,000 for work permit in Canada and $300 for sending documents to Canada.

Osuji further alleged that Danbawa was subsequently arrested last month by the Victoria Island Division of the police, following a complaint that he disappeared after collecting the money.

The defendant, who is facing a two-count charge of obtaining by pretence and stealing, was arraigned before Magistrate O. M. Ajayi.

Danbawa denied the charges. Magistrate Ajayi granted him N500,000 bail, with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case till August 17 for mention.



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