Wednesday, March 29, 2017 8:21 pm
The Managing Director of an outdoor advertising firm — Afromedia Plc., Mr Akinola Olopade, on Wednesday told an Ikeja High Court how one of the company’s directors defrauded it of N45 billion in business transaction.
Olopade made the disclosure at the ongoing trial of Alhaji Mohammed Gobir for a 17-count charge of stealing, forgery and obtaining money by false pretences slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Gobir, however, denied the charges.
While being led in evidence by Mrs Zainab Etu, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Olopade said:“My Lord, after about three years of promises, it was discovered that the promises were a bunch of lies.
“At the Afromedia Board meeting held on Dec. 20, 2013, he promised that we will be in London for Christmas and the monies will be released.
“It was all a lie, his phone was switched off and I later got to know that he had traveled to Dubai.
“When I later found out that he had returned to Lagos, I visited him and I decided to start recording all our conversations as I needed evidence of his deceit and I did not want to confront him with the conversations I had in my memory.”
NAN reports that the audio recording of Gobir evading questions from Olopade regarding the funds was played in the courtroom.
The conversations between the men were in English and Yoruba languages and Gobir could be heard telling Olopade that the 250 million dollars (about N45 billion) at N160 to a dollar in 2013.
In a Feb. 11, 2013 audio recording, Gobir could be heard saying “the 250 million dollars is in town, we are trying to clear it with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The CBN needed papers to clear the money and we are trying to clear it as the CBN has sent me an alert.”
“Gobir said on Feb. 15, 2013, monies were to be released from the N45 billion allegedly transferred to him from the CBN.
“The dollar rate at the time was N160 to a dollar, all these stories changed till March of that year and until now I do not know what happened to the money as he has been coming up with different stories,” he said.
According to the EFCC, Gobir defrauded the company through a phoney investment deal he allegedly introduced to Afromedia Plc through their private placement consultants — Synergy Energy Advisory Ltd — as a high net worth investor willing to inject N1 billion into the company.
He was allegedly appointed as the Head of Business Development Committee in the Board of Directors of the company, a position of trust in which he allegedly used to defraud the company.
Gobir allegedly demanded huge sums of money including the 250 million dollars from the company as business expenses for a United Kingdom-based Investment consultants — the Royal Exchange Bureau — in order to secure investments from a bank in UK.
The investment deal was never secured and Gobir also failed to refund the monies to Afromedia Plc.
Justice Raliatu Adebiyi adjourned the case until April 7 and April 10 for continuation of trial. (NAN)