A Bureau de Change, BDC operator, Ali Nuhu, has narrated how a businessman, Temitope Omogbeja allegedly defrauded him of about 20 million naira on the pretext of supplying him with the dollar equivalent.
He gave evidence before Justice Olubusola Okunuga of a Special Offences Court in Ikeja on Monday.
Omogbeja is standing trial alongside his company, Teejahm Integrated Service Limited, on a two count charge of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
While being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, counsel, Ms. Chineye Okezie, the prosecuton witness told the court that he knew the defendant through his friend named Terrence.
The BDC operator explained that he paid the defendant the said sum after he approached him that he had 35,000 USD in America to sell.
The witness said: “After giving him the naira equivalent, he sent him an e-mail that the bank sent an e-mail to him that the 35,000USD was paid to the Wespalo account I gave him.
“I told him it is not a telex copy but he said that is how they make their own payment and that I should confirm the following day. Nothing was in the account when I checked the following day.
“I informed the defendant that the money was not there and he told me that I should inform the owner of the account to wait that in five working days, the money will reflect, yet to no avail.
“The defendant later said I should hold on that he will look for another money to send to the account but the owner of the money said since he cannot pay another dollar, I should refund the Naira back.”
He also explained that he reported the case to EFCC after the defendant relocated from Lagos to Abuja and all attempts made to retrieve the money from him proved abortive.
“After so much persistence, the defendant paid one million naira into my account and he refused to pick my calls.
“I explained to the owner of the money who told me to report to EFCC after the defendant ran to Abuja.
“The defendant did not honour the EFCC invitation which resulted in the commission tracking him to Abuja and repatriating him back to Lagos,” Nuhu said.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr. S.A. Adisa, the witness said the payment was made October 8, 2021 and he had known the defendant for seven years when they started a business relationship sincerely in 2014.
The BDC operator confirmed that the business involved buying and selling and that the defendant had delivered in a previous transaction.
He said that the account that the defendant was supposed to pay the 35,000 USD was a company’s account and he did not have a personal relationship with the beneficiaries of the company.
“It is my brother that knows the beneficiaries of the company and the woman whom my brother knows from the company said she did not receive the 35,000 USD,” the witness said.
He further confirmed to the court that his lawyer wrote the petition to EFCC on his behalf.
The trial judge, Justice Okunuga adjourned the case till December 1 for continuation of trial.