Adedayo Falomo, Ibadan.
A 40-year-old man, Ayodele Olaniyi, is currently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan zonal office, for allegedly duping some people of N343.8m.
Olaniyi was arrested following a petition addressed to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and filed on February 13, 2018.
Signed by a lawyer, Mr. Jimoh Tijani of E. F. A. Adeola & Co, the petition was written on behalf of 89 individuals, who claimed to be victims of the suspect’s alleged fraudulent acts.
The petitioners alleged that they were hoodwinked by Olaniyi into investing in a network business called Beerbanc Traders’ Network.
The business required that they pool resources together to establish a beer retailing venture with the promise that the proceeds would be shared every month among the investors and the coordinating company.
They further alleged that after collecting money from them, Olaniyi neither shared the profit with them since October 2018 nor returned their invested funds, even when it was apparent that the business had ran into trouble.
Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent that upon receipt of the petition, Magu assigned detectives to look into it.
The sources explained that in the course of their investigation, the detectives discovered that the suspect was operating eight different bank accounts and enlisted 114 people into the phoney scheme.
It was also established that the sum of N396.5m found in the accounts was never invested in any business as promised by Olaniyi when he was luring his victims into the deal.
It was gathered that the EFCC investigators established that the company, under which Olaniyi wanted to operate the business, was not registered with the Central Bank of Nigeria like other financial institutions as required by law.
After taking his statement and conducting a search on his house and business address at Oluyole, Ibadan, the commission granted the suspect an administrative bail, of which he had yet to meet the conditions.
However, having realised that the bubble had burst, Olaniyi allegedly tried playing smart on the commission.
He was said to have pretended to be suffering from hepatitis B in order to aid his release without meeting the bail conditions.
However, medical laboratory tests conducted on him established that he never suffered from the health condition.
According to EFCC sources, investigators are fine-tuning their findings to prepare the suspect for prosecution.