The police in Lagos arraigned an Internet car dealer, Abiola Akinlonu, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on Monday for alleged conversion of N5m into personal use.
It was learnt that the defendant was arrested by the police in January 2016 by operatives of the Special Fraud Unit in Ikoyi, Lagos, for reportedly defrauding a neighbor, Ikena Ezeoka, of the sum.
Punch Metro gathered that the duo lived on Abbi Street, Mende, in the Maryland area.
Ezeoka was said to have approached the defendant, who usually came home with different vehicles, sometime in 2013 that he needed two vehicles – a Ford Explorer 2007/2008 model and a Range Rover 2007 model.
A Punch correspondent learnt that Akinlonu showed pictures of the cars to Ezeoka on his computer, claiming that he helped people buy vehicles of their choice on the Internet.
Afterwards, the dealer reportedly gave him a bank account to pay the money into with a promise that the vehicles would be delivered to him a few days after the payment.
However, it was said that after paying the sum, Akinlonu reneged on his promise. He eventually issued a Diamond Bank cheque of N5m to the complainant, but the cheque was reportedly dishonored when Ezeoka tendered it at a branch of the bank.
A Punch correspondent learnt that Ezeoka tried in vain to get his money refunded and became more worried when he discovered that the complainant had vacated his residence.
Efforts to locate his whereabouts were futile until January 19 when the SFU operatives, to whom the alleged fraud was reported, swooped on him at his present residence on Samuel Awoniyi Street, Opebi, Ikeja.
The SFU prosecutor, Inspector Adoga Amedu, brought Akinlonu before Magistrate Ambibola Akomolafe on three counts of stealing and issuance of a dud cheque.
Amedu told the court that the offences contravened sections 285, 319 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, adding that the defendant connived with others at large to commit the crime.
The charges read in part, “That you, Abiola Akinlonu, and others at large, sometime in 2013, on Abbi Street, Mende, Maryland, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did steal a sum of N5m, property of one Ikena Ezeoka.
“That you, and others at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, with intent to defraud, issued a Diamond Bank cheque No 0000004 valued at N5m in favour of Ikenna Ezeoka, knowing well that there was insufficient fund in your account and the cheque was dishonoured on presentation.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the counts and was granted bail in the sum of N500,000 with one responsible surety.
The case was adjourned till May 24, 2016.