The Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday presented its first prosecution witness, Tijani Lateef, a motor parts dealer, against one Yusuf Olanrewaju, who is facing trial for N4.3m fraud, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The EFCC is prosecuting Olarenwaju on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy to steal and stealing to the tune of N4,350,000.00.
One of the counts reads: “Yusuf Jimoh Olanrewaju (aka Akeem) and Akin (at large), sometime in May 2019 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to dishonestly convert the sum of N4,350,000 property of Emeka Oguchi, being amount for the purchase of his car Ford Edge, 2012 model.”
He had pleaded “not guilty” to the charge, thereby prompting his trial.
At today’s sitting, Lateef, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Bilikisu Buhari Bala, told the Court that he misplaced his cheque book sometime in 2018.
He said: “I lost my cheque book two years ago and reported to the bank.
“Since then, they declared it as a missing cheque.
“One day, the bank called me that the cheque came with a different signature; and about one month later, my bank account was blocked.”
According to him, he expressed shock as to why the bank would block his accounts, until he got a call from the EFCC notifying him that the Commission had placed PND (Post No Debit) on the account.
He said: “They explained to me that they had arrested someone who took possession of my cheque book and used it with the intention of getting money out of the account.”
He, thereafter, identified the cheque slip, which the defendant had sought to use to withdraw money from his account.
He also noted that while the slip was one of his cheque slips, the signature on it was not his.
The prosecution thus tendered the cheque slip as evidence against the defendant, which was admitted by the court as exhibit C.
He also identified his own signature as indicated on his international passport, which was admitted by the court as exhibit D.
The case has been adjourned till February 10, 2021, for further hearing.