In a card fraud case that has continued to send shock waves across the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the Nigerian Financial Sector community, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting one Ahmed Soetan Adebola, a United Kingdom, UK ex-convict for defrauding Radisson Blu Hotel to the tune of Four Million, Four Hundred and Forty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Twelve Kobo (N4,449,633.12).
In a petition by the hotel to the EFCC, the defendant who had been deported from the UK was lodging in the facility at different times and was making payments using American Express credit card in favor of the hotel.
The payments were however recalled by the unified payment system prompting them to lay an ambush for him.
Read more in Lekki Times: 2023: INEC ends all primaries today, orders political parties to submit their candidates from tomorrow
Adebola unawares that his bubble had burst checked into the hotel again between 15th and 16th December 2020 leading to his arrest based on earlier allegations against him.
Upon his arrest, a search was conducted on him wherein several incriminating items including nine credit cards bearing different names, six out of which were American Express and two UK driver’s licences were found on him.
Like the credit cards, the driver’s licenses also bore same information that include pictures of Adebola though the names on them differ. The defendant who in the face of indicting evidences couldn’t make any denials said the cards was were given to him by a certain Jim Collins who he had met in the UK.
In his submission, Adebola admitted that he knew the cards were fraudulently acquired and that he doesn’t know the owners of the cards. He listed Federal Palace, Four Point etc as some other hotels where he had used the cards just like his friend Jim Collins who also used similar cards to sort his bills.
The matter which came up for hearing in court on monday June 6th 2022, had Gabriel Okara, an investigator with EFCC as third prosecution witness PW3 and Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offenses Court sitting in Ikeja Lagos as Lead Prosecutor.
More in Lekki Times: AS NLC THROWS ITS WEIGHT BEHIND THE PETER OBI PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel Ahmed Yerima, Okara identified the petition by the hotel and the statements volunteered by the defendant while in the custody of the EFCC which were already before the court as exhibits P and P5 to P6.
Okara also told the court that further investigation was extended to the National Crime Agency in the UK to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the credit cards, driver’s licences and the criminal record of Ahmed Soetan Adebola.
In its response, the NCA affirmed that the credit cards were forged documents just like the driver’s licenses. The agency also stated in their response that Soetan had been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in the UK for offences bordering on fraudulent bank card, motoring offences and others. The reported went on to reveal that the defendant was even deported.
The nine credit cards and two driver’s licences were tendered by the witness in evidence.
Following a no objection by defence counsel Olusola Bamidele, the tendered documents were admitted in evidence against the defendant.
The prosecution had notified the court of an amended one-count charge dated May 30th, 2022 bordering on obtaining by false pretence contrary to section 312 of criminal law of Lagos state 2011 earlier in the proceedings.
The charge reads ‘That you, Ahmed Soetan Adebola, sometimes between the 23rd day of October 2020 and 4th November 2020 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud, checked into RADISSON BLU Anchorage Hotel for the sum of N4,449,633.12 with the understanding that your payment will be made using American Express credit card with pretence you knew was false’.
Adebola pleaded guilty to all charges.
The defendant was initially arraigned on July 19, 2021 on a six-count charge bordering on possession of document containing false pretence, an offence contrary to section 318 of the criminal law of Lagos state, 2011 to which he pleaded not guilty.
The case was adjourned till July 1, 2022 for judgement.