Four members of a syndicate of suspected fraudsters have been arrested on the Lagos Island by the police for allegedly forging documents to claim the ownership of shares worth N35.7m, which belonged to one late Amarvi Rowland.
The suspects are a stock broker, Olufemi Oyewunmi, a pastor in Ibadan, Oyo State; Benjamin Ogunlusi, an estate agent, Omoola Ayodeji, and one Olayinka Adisa.
The alleged fraud was reportedly coordinated by one Kola, Oyewunmi’s colleague, who is still at large.
It was learnt that Central Securities Clearing System Plc on Customs Street, Marina, Lagos, had handled the shares for Rowland.
Our correspondent gathered the firm had made a publication in a newspaper (not The PUNCH) sometime in September, where details of the deceased were published.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Ayodeji, in company with the pastor, on Friday, October 21, presented a forged national identity card bearing the deceased’s name to the firm.
Ayodeji was also said to have affixed his passport photograph on a biometric form containing Rowland’s details and tendered it to the company to facilitate the transfer of the sum into a bank account opened in his (Rowland’s) name.
It was gathered that after carrying out some verifications, the firm found out that Ayodeji was an impostor and alerted the Lion Building Police Division, leading to his and Ogunlusi’s arrest.
Ayodeji, who hails from Osun State, led policemen to a firm on the Lagos Island, where the stock broker and Olayinka were apprehended.
Ayodeji told the police that the pastor introduced him to the deal, with a promise that he would collect 10 per cent if they succeeded.
He said, “I met Pastor Benjamin (Ogunlusi) in Ibadan last year through one Tunde. I met the pastor again in August, 2016 and he said he had a deal for me. He introduced me to Kola. Thereafter, a bank account was opened in the name of the deceased.
“I was not told the amount involved, but I was promised 10 per cent as my share.”
Ogunlusi, who is an indigene of Ekiti State, said, “I got to know about the deal through one Samuel. I introduced Ayodeji to Kola. The business was discussed, but I don’t know how much it involved. Olayinka (Adisa) was also aware of the deal.”
However, Olayinka and Oyewunmi, denied involvement in the alleged fraud.
“Kola is a colleague. I don’t know Ayodeji. I met Olayinka through Kola. The police arrested both of us,” Oyewunmi said.
A police prosecutor, Inspector Philip Osijale, brought the suspects before a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on four counts bordering on forgery and stealing.
The charges read in part, “That you, Omoola Ayodeji, Benjamin Ogunlusi, Adisa Olayinka, Olufemi Oyeromi and others now at large, on or before October 2016, on the Lagos Island, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did forge one biometric system application form and one Nigeria National Identity Card in the name of one Amarvi Rowland.”
The defendants, who appeared before magistrate M.B. Folami, pleaded not guilty.