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Police declare ex-deputy gov wanted for fraud

By The Rainbow
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The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police has mounted search for  a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, for allegedly defrauding a land buyer of N130m.

The suspect and her son, Samson, obtained money from the victim by false representation, the police said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Commissioner of Police for the command, Tunde Ogunsakin, said, 'The victim alleged that in September 2011, the suspects conspired and sold a parcel of land at Plot 24 Block 4 situated at Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos for N130m which he paid into the first suspect's account with the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

'He further stated that after payment, he requested title document and Alhaja Ojikutu procured an affidavit of support to back her fraudulent claim, a police crime extract and a publication in a newspaper all purporting to loss of the original documents of title to the land.  The victim believed her because of her personality as the former Deputy Governor of Lagos State.

'The bubble burst when the victim commenced development of the land and was on the verge of completion when the bona fide owner of the land surfaced and indeed it was discovered that the land the suspect sold did not belong to her.  She actually sold Plot 23 Block 4 while Plot 24 Block 4 already has a property on it.'

According to police investigation, the land Ojikutu sold, did not belong to her, but to one Mr. Afolabi.  It was also discovered that the Plot 24 Block 4, which actually belonged to Alhaja Ojikutu's late husband, Samson Ojikutu (senior), was sold by him in 1995 and the suspect was a life witness and appended her signature to the sale of the land.

Ogunsakin said the suspect further perpetrated the crime by alleging that the original Certificate of Occupancy to the property was missing and swore an affidavit which enabled her to obtain a police report and memorandum of loss.  She also put up an advert in newspapers that the original C of O was lost, whereas the original C of O was with the Hallmark Homes, the buyer of the property.

He said, 'The suspect, who is a 67-year-old retiree from Lagos Island, allegedly connived with her son, Samson, who is currently in the United States to commit the fraud.  The suspect and her son were parties to the sale of the land and both signed the agreement given to the complainant and obtained the sum of N130m from him.

'She admitted committing the crime but confessed that it was a genuine mistake of plot identification.  She refunded the sum of N50m to the complainant and promised to refund the balance as soon as she disposed of her two properties she put up for sale.  She also confessed that she had invested the victim's money in her business.

'She equally made an undertaking and payment plan which was drawn from September, 2012 and was to terminate by November 2012, but she defaulted.'

Ogunsakin stated that the suspect was not willing to abide by the terms of payment and had jumped bail. He added that all attempts to contact her had proved abortive.

'The SFU declares Alhaja Ojikutu wanted. Anybody with useful information regarding her whereabouts should report to the Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit, 13 Milverton Road, Ikoyi,' he said.

But responding to the allegation on Wednesday, counsel to the Ojikutus claimed that their clients discovered late in the deal that the buyer had built on a wrong parcel of land. Nevertheless, the lawyers wrote: 'Further to our clients' discovery of the facts, Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu volunteered to refund Mr. Cajetan Okekearu the  sum of N130,000.00 which agreement was evidenced in a 'Terms of settlement dated 25th July, 2013 executed for our clients by Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu.'

'•The alleged Bond instrument upon which Mr. Cajetan Okekearu alleges that Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu and her husband sold or charged the said land in favour of one Mr. Phillips Abumere before agreeing to sell the said land to Mr Cajetan Okekearu is a forgery because Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu never signed any such document as a witness or in any capacity and do not know and have never at any time dealt with any Mr. Phillips Abumere in respect of anything.

'• Acting promptly upon her voluntary undertaking, Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu has refunded the sum of =N=50,000000.00 (Fifty-Five Million Naira Only) out of the =N=130,000000.00 ('Contract Sum') she received from Mr. Cajetan Okekearu pursuant to the aforesaid contract of sale of the said land.

'•At the time they dealt with Mr. Cajetan Okekearu in respect of the said land our clients did not know that third-parties had trespassed onto the said land, dealing fraudulently thereto. Alhaja Sinatu Aderoju Ojikutu has since challenged the trespassers, reporting the matter to the Lagos State Lands Registry.

'• Continuing their belief in their right to deal in the property known and described as Block 4 Plot 24 Lekki Residential Scheme Phase 1, as recently as 18th October, 2011 our clients paid the sum =N=4,805,620.00 (Four Million And Thousand and Twenty Naira) to the Lagos State Government in respect of the said land. A letter of the Government of Lagos State confirming the payment was enclosed issued.

'• Paragraph xix and the letter mentioned there confirm a recent act of the Lagos State Government confirming that our clients are beneficially entitled to Block 4 Plot 24 Lekki Residential Scheme Phase 1, the land in respect of which our said clients received the money subject matter of Mr Cajetan Okekearu's aforesaid complaint.

'• In view of the easily verifiable facts above, we hope that all concerned will appreciate that the dispute between Mr Cajetan Okekearu and our clients is entirely civil and has no criminal dimensions whatsoever. It is therefore, not something the Nigeria Police Force or anyone else is empowered to interfere with.

'• From the foregoing, it is clear that our client, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu is not a criminal and has not committed any fraudulent act to warrant a damaging publication being made against her.'