The Lagos Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja, has commenced the trial of seven suspects for swindling a couple to the tune of £1m pounds for spiritual cleansing.
The prime victim, Dr. Lateef Oladimeji Bello, has told Justice Rahman Oshodi of how the defendants allegedly conspired and obtained the sum of £1 million from him by false pretence.
The seven suspects are; Morufu Yahaya Adewale, Omitogun Ajayi, Ajisegiri Abiodun, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka, Taiwo Olamilekan Ahmed, Raufu Wale Raheem, and Sanlabiu Owolabi Teslim.
The defendants were arraigned on a three-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which alleged that the defendants obtained the sum of £1 million from Dr. and Dr. (Mrs.) Lateef Oladimeji Bello, for the purpose of conducting prayers for spiritual cleansing of the family and that the money will be refunded after the prayers within one week, which they knew to be false.
The incident happened between August and September, 2018.
They were charged for conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence contrary to the provision of Section 1(1)(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and contrary to provision of Section 410 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
However, they pleaded not guilty before the EFCC counsel, N.K. Ukoha, began their prosecution before the Court.
Led-in-evidence by the EFCC counsel, the complainant narrated how one of the defendants, Sanlabiu, led him to the fraudsters at a shrine located in Osogbo, in order to carry out cleansing for the family.
Bello said that when they entered the shrine, he was ‘hypnotised’, “I was feeling unusual.”
He said: “I thought he was taking me to an Islamic cleric, however, it was a herbalist. In fact, (the second defendant) Omitogun Ajayi, noticed it and told me, ‘focus on this place, do you know where Jesus Christ was born?’
“He now consulted his Osanyin at the shrine, and then he gave us a bill of about N230,000 that we need to buy something like ram and so on, which I paid. He said that I have to bring my wife, and that was the period my wife was preparing for retirement, that she would be the one to pray, when they do their rituals.”
“When my wife came, they made incantations and gave us different concoctions to drink. Ajayi, who was the main man, said that the Osanyin said that we need to go and see their Baba in Ijebu-Igbo, who will finalise the prayer for my son.”
The prosecution witness also narrated how they went to Ijebu Igbo.
He recounted: “Days later, myself, my wife and my son, and Sanlabiu, my driver, Ajayi and one Alfa, who is one of them and currently at large, went to Ijebu Igbo. When we got there, we met Morufu Yahaya Adewale, who disguised himself as an elderly man of over 100 years old.”
The matter was adjourned for further hearing.Follow us on social media