Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos yesterday heard how an unemployed young man, Sowunmi Gabriel Oladipo allegedly defrauded a female British National, one Stephanie Metacalfe of £150′000.
Oladipo, who portrayed himself as both Brian Kinsella and Gabriel Solomon, met Stephanie sometime in June 2014 on an online dating site as Brian (resident in the Brompton United Kingdom) where they chatted and later turned lovers.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Oladipo on a four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence but he denied the allegations.
The commission alleged that Oladipo and one Adebayo (still at large) between the months of June and September 2014 with intent to defraud obtained the sums of USD $228, 661, £25, 403 and £8, 969 from Stephanie through Western Union Money Transfer Scheme and money gram on the false pretense that he was a supervisor in Shell oil company in Nigeria.
The EFCC also alleged that Oladipo obtained money from the victim on the pretence that he was working in the oil company in Nigeria and needed a loan to pay his workers.
However, according to a female operative attached to the Advanced fee fraud Section of the EFCC, Funmilayo Adedulu, who narrated the incidence to the court, said that the victim(Stephanie) lost £150’000 during the course of their relationship as lovers.
While being led in evidence by the prosecuting officer, Ayokunle Fayanju, Adedulu said that a petition with several attachments dated December 1, 2016 was received by the commission and assigned to her team.
Adedulu said that the petition was written and signed by one Daniel of the National Crimes Agency Victoria Island, Lagos; attached to the British Deputy High Commission on behalf of the UK (United Kingdom) citizen Stephanie Metacalfe.
She said, “in the petition, the citizen claimed she was into an online romance relationship with Brian. The petition stated that the attachments were the statements the UK citizen made to the UK police, including other document showing the incidence which occurred during the relationship.
“The attachment included the DHL documents which she used in sending items like wrist watch, sun glasses to Brian in Nigeria.
“Documents of the Debit transfer from her account to the Diamond bank account of Oladipo in Nigeria, the email exchanges, western Union and money gram documents which she used in sending the monies to Nigeria were also attached.
“In the statement of account of Oladipo Gabriel, it was discovered that the victim made transfers to the account between June, July and September, 2014 in five(5) installments in the tune of $225, 000.
“Further study revealed that most of the depositors of the account had foreign names,” she said.
Adedulu further told the court that the defendant was arrested at Fidelity Bank during the course of investigation and handed over to the operatives of the commission.
“The defendant was arrested by the officials of Fidelity Bank and he further volunteered a statement in respect to the petition”, Adedulu added.
Meanwhile, the tendering of the documents by Fayanju was rejected by the court on the grounds that the documents were not certified.
Justice Oshodi said that the court observed that most of the documents which the prosecution sorts to tender are public documents that are not certified true copies.
The judge consequently adjourned the matter till march 1, 2018 for the continuation of trial.