The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Tuesday applied to take over from the police, the prosecution of a developer, Alabi Tesleem Idowu, who allegedly defrauded 297 accommodation seekers of N65 million.
It told Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court in Lagos that it had obtained the Federal Government’s consent to take over the case.
Justice Oweibo, on August 11, remanded Idowu in prison custody following an application by the Special Police Fraud Unit (SPFU), Yaba, Lagos.
The application was backed by a 251-count charge of obtaining under false pretence.
Idowu pleaded not guilty and the judge adjourned to hear his bail application.
At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, two counsel – Police prosecutor Mr. Chukwu Agwu and a Deputy Director in the DPP’s office, Adetutu Oshinusi – announced appearance for the government.
Oshinusi told the judge that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had issued a fiat to the Lagos State Attorney-General to take over the case file.
She said the DPP is now empowered to prosecute the defendant at the Federal High Court and prayed the court to grant her application to take over the matter.
She also prayed for a short date to enable her respond to the developer’s bail application.
But Idris’ counsel, Mr. Jilji Jubrin, opposed her.
“The business of the court today, is for the hearing of the defendant’s bail application,” Jubrin said.
He said he had served SPFU the bail application and also received the prosecution’s counter application.
Jubrin said the DPP could take over the case, but after the court had decided the defendant’s bail.
Also responding, Agwu, who described the DPP’s involvement as “a good development,” said the power to prosecute criminal cases “rests in the bosom of the AGF.”
In a bench ruling, Justice Nicholas granted the DPP’s prayer and adjourned till October 10, to hear and determine the developer’s bail application.
According to the charge, the defendant allegedly perpetrated the fraud between January and June.
Idowu allegedly obtained the money from 251 accommodation seekers for a room self-contained and a room and parlour self-contained apartments in a renovated building at Karimu Street, Alapere, Ketu, Lagos.
Some of the victims and the sums received from them, include: Mohammed Akeem, N400,000; Philip Obinna, N320,000; Folorunsho Ridwan N835,000; Mrs. Owodunni Dorcas Adetutu, N240,000; Abdulraham Hamed, N170.000; Folakemi Amosun, N220,000; Theresa Amazi, N175, 000; Samson Emmanuel, N195, 000; Salau Wasiu, N180,000; Khadyat Sanusi, N140,000; Ishola Matthew, N240,000.
Others are: Michael Bashorun, N150,000; Akinshola Samuel, N100,000; Olaleye Bisola, N260,000; Emmanuel Agbakwuru, N270, 000; Ayedun Oluwatobi, N200,000 and several others.
The offences were said to contravene sections 1(2) and 1(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.