An Ikeja High Court on Monday sentenced an estate agent, Michael
Olabameji, to 15 years imprisonment for defrauding 100 accommodation
seekers of N29.8 million.
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo convicted Olabameji, 42, of the 99-count
charge of obtaining money by false pretence preferred against him by
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Onigbanjo sentenced the convict to 15 years imprisonment on each
count, which is to run concurrently beginning from Feb.1, 2010, when
he was remanded in prison.
The judge said: "the convict inflicted untold hardships on the victims
and callously deprived them of their hard-earned money with a false
promise of accommodation.
"It is immaterial that he had the mind to refund the money to the
victims as he had claimed in his confessional statement to the EFCC."
He said the property which was used by the convict to perpetuate the
fraud was actually owned by another person who had leased it to him
from 2010 till 2025.
Onigbanjo said the 16-apartment building, located at No. 2, Amuda St.,
Kirikiri, Lagos, should therefore, be managed by the EFCC till the
expiration of the lease.
According to him, the proceeds recovered from the rent are to be paid
to the victims as restitution.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Mrs Bunmi Bosede, had told the court that
Olabameji committed the offences between January and July 2008.
She said he had collected various sums of money from victims as
tenancy and agreement fees.
Mr Joseph Igwe, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on
behalf of the victims, applauded the judgment.
Igwe said that they had suffered both financial and psychological
hardship as a result of Olabameji's actions. (NAN)