BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos
Lagos State government yesterday commenced trial of two suspects arraigned for attempting to defraud the state government to the tune of N50 million by cloning the official line of the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The suspects – Rilwanu Jamiu and Balogun Oyewole were arraigned before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court in Igbosere on three-count charge bordering on the alleged crime.
Specifically, they are standing trial for possession of fraudulent document, impersonation and attempt to commit felony.
While testifying before the court, the state accountant general, Mrs Abimbola Shukurat Umar revealed how she received a text message from the suspects on February 10, 2016, purportedly from Governor Ambode, directing her to transfer the sum of N50million to a designated Keystone Bank account.
Umar, who was led in evidence by the state attorney general and commissioner for Justice, Mr Adenijii Kazeem, said she found the message suspicious and highly irregular of the official accounting protocol.
This, prompted her to bring the message to the attention of the governor, who, after distancing himself from the message, ordered the immediate investigation of the matter.
The investigation, which was conducted by the Department of State Security (DSS), led to the eventual arrest of the defendants, who were subsequently charged before the court.
The prosecution also called Mr Wale Odu, director of DSS, Lagos State Command, to give evidence in the matter.
In his testimony, Odu confirmed that the investigation leading to the arrest of the defendants was conducted by his team.
According to him, investigation revealed that the second defendant (Oyewole) is one of the directors and shareholders of a firm, Clayder Limited to whose Keystone Bank account, the N50million fraud money would have been paid.
The matter was later adjourned to February 14, 2018 for continuation of the trial, while the defendants were to continue to be remanded at the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.
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