The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos State how a businesswoman, Taiwo Martins, swindled a London-based lecturer of $240,000 (about N36 million).
The EFCC made the allegation through one of its investigative officers, Alex Ogbole, at the resumption of Martins’ trial before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.
The 48-year-old accused is being prosecuted alongside her company, Baal-Perazim Investment Limited.
The defendants are facing a 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and issuance of dishonoured cheque.
The EFCC alleged that they collected the money from the don, Olasunkanmi Sholarin, in April 2010, on the pretext of helping him to secure a $65 million credit facility.
In his testimony, Ogbole said he was one of the officers who investigated the petition sent to the EFCC by the complainant on May 17, 2011.
The witness, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Anslem Ozioko, said Martins was already in the custody of the commission when the petition was received.
He said the defendant was being detained by the EFCC for another fraud-related case, which was under investigation at that time.
Ogbole said Sholarin, a lecturer at University of Westminster, London, was introduced to the defendant and one Michael Olawuyi, now at large, at Hanover Square in London.
He said: “He told them that he had an estate development project in Nigeria and needed a loan to execute the project.
“The defendant told him that he should pay $300,000 as processing fee and that they would make the loan available.”
According to him, after paying a total instalment of $240,000, both in naira and other foreign currencies, Martins failed to secure the loan as promised.
Ogbole said while in the EFCC custody, Martins promised to repay the money and issued four First Bank of Nigeria cheques in the sum of N9 million each, payable to the complainant.
He said she was subsequently granted an administrative bail.
He added: “However, we were later informed by Sholarin that the cheques were dishonoured when they were presented for payment.
“It was also discovered that the defendant had jumped bail.”
The witness said Martins was eventually sighted at a US airport almost a year later en route to Nigeria and was arrested by the EFCC on arrival in the country.
The case has been adjourned till July 16 for continuation of trial.