How artisans tried to steal N50m – Lagos AG

Sesan Olufowobi

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday continued the trial of two suspects earlier arraigned for allegedly attempting to defraud the state government of N50m by cloning the official line of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

The PUNCH had reported on April 21, 2016, that two artisans – Rilwanu Jamiu and Balogun Oyewole – were  nabbed for allegedly cloning Ambode’s mobile line and attempting to withdraw N50m from the state government’s account.

The artisans were arraigned on April 20, 2016, before an Isolo Magistrate’s Court on two counts bordering on the alleged offence.

Jamiu and Oyewole, however, appeared again on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, on three counts of possession of fraudulent documents, impersonation and attempt to commit felony.

The Lagos State Accountant General, Mrs. Abimbola Umar, told the court that she received a text message from the suspects on February 10, 2016, purportedly from Ambode, directing her to transfer the sum of N50m to a Keystone Bank account.

Umar, who was led in evidence by the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, said she found the message suspicious and highly irregular of the official accounting protocol.

She said, “This prompted me to bring the message to the attention of the governor, who, after distancing himself from the message, ordered the immediate investigation into the matter.”

The investigation, which was conducted by the Department of State Services, led to the arrest of the defendants.

The prosecution also called the state Director of DSS, Wale Odu, who said the investigation leading to the arrest of the defendants was conducted by his team.

He said, “The investigation revealed that the second defendant (Oyewole) is one of the directors and shareholders of a firm, Clayder Limited, to which Keystone Bank account, the N50m fraud money would have been paid.”

The matter was adjourned till February 14, 2018, for continuation of the trial, while the defendants were ordered to remain at the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, where they had earlier been remanded.

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