February 27, 2020

Fraud: How woman lost N13,400,000 to friend of 31 years

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*I’m not guilty, defendant tells court

By Onozure Dania

In a fraud case before a Lagos court, headteacher at Saint Peter’s Anglican School, Ogun State, Christiana Ikara, has been accused of stealing £28,000 from her friend.

Ikara and the complainant, Mrs. Isoken Ilekhuoba, had been friends for 31 years.

Ikara, who was arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate’s Court sitting in Igbosere, allegedly pretended to be helping her friend purchase landed property.

Ikara, 55, was accused of conniving with her sons, who acted as agent and lawyer, respectively, to defraud her friend, and is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, obtaining and fraud, preferred against her by the police.

The defendant, who resides in Ogun State, was docked before Magistrate B. I. Bakare.

The prosecutor, Superintendent George Nwosu, told the court that the defendant and others now at large, committed the offences in April 2019.

He said that the defendant obtained £28,000 (N13,400,000), from the complainant, Mrs. Ilekhuoba, under disguise of helping her purchase landed property, which she knew was false.

Nwosu said: “The defendant obtained the said money from Ilekhuoba, that she was going to help her purchase a two-flat bungalow and a three-bedroom flat, which she knew to be false.

“Ikara, with intent to defraud, stole the said money by false presence.”

According to him, the offence committed is contrary to Section 280 and punishable under Sections 411, 413 and 287 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge against her.

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Lawyer to the defendant, Emmanuel Okedi, urged the court to grant her bail in liberal terms, as she was still presumed innocent in the fraud case.

He said: “The defendant is a senior and responsible citizen.”

However, Nwosu prayed the court to give the defendant stringent bail conditions to ensure she attends court proceedings.

Consequently, Magistrate B. I. Bakare admitted her to bail in the sum of N1 million, with two sureties in like sum.

He ordered that one of the sureties should deposit the sum of N250,000 with the Chief Registrar.

Bakare also ordered that the second surety must be a landowner and the two sureties must be residents of Lagos State.

He ordered that the sureties must show means of livelihood, means of identification, three years tax clearance from Lagos State government and have their addresses verified.

The case was adjourned till March 24 for mention.