By Shalom A. Oludele, Abuja
The chief executive officer of African Investors in Diaspora Association (AIDA), Dr Philemon Gora, has cried out to the general public of his innocence in the allegation of internet fraud, cybercrime conspiracy, being labelled against him by the Nigeria Police Force.
Narrating his ordeal to journalists in Abuja, Dr Gora said that on 1st of June 2020, his partner, Mr Tobechukwu Osigwe called to inform of an unsolicited sum of N485,000,000 received in his UBA account.
He further explained that there was an already prepared schedule of some investors awaiting payment. The N498M came without any narration; so he and his partner, thinking the money came from their anticipated source, went ahead to disbursed same to a long awaiting Investors, without any knowledge that the said money may have been from a different source other than their anticipated sources.
“It was two weeks after receipt of the said money that Mr Tobechukwu Osigwe was contacted by one Mr Darlington that the said money under reference was from him, while showing transaction receipt. After discussions, we agreed to refund the money,” he added.
While emphasising that he is innocent of any allegation against him, Dr Gora lamented that he had been incarcerated by the Nigeria police on several occasions for an offence he knows nothing about.
“However, we talked with Mr Darlington and agreed that the money will be refunded within a record time. But surprisingly, we received a call that a complaint had been lodged against us.
We were then arrested to Lagos and later released on administrative bail. My partner, Mr Tobechukwu, was rearrested to the Force Headquarters here in Abuja. They later arrested me again and kept me in cell for 40days. The police took me to three different locations where I was detained without any access to my family members, and was kept in the SARS detention for four days without food nor water.
“Another worrisome part is that the police and the UBA, without any court order, place restrictions on my bank accounts, AIDA, and thousands of our members and clients. It is a mystery to me that such a level of lawlessness is being exhibited in a country like Nigeria,” Mr Gora decried.
Legal counsel to AIDA, Mr Solomon Agada, esq, told journalists that AIDA, being a legal entity with track records of tremendous impact to the lives of their members, neither partook in this evil act/fraud nor requested for any part of the proceed to be transferred to them nor know any member of the syndicate behind the sordid act. However, through the activities of fraudsters, the sum of N485,000,000.00 found its way into the personal account of one of the Partners of Dr Gora by name Tobechukwu Osigwe who in turn with genuine belief thought the said monies would have been from one of many anticipated sources wherein monies are expected to pay off investors.
Our clients are further shocked that thousands of their investors’ accounts were restricted and other members of AIDA were even arrested, humiliated and detained, and their businesses shattered under the guise of investigation.
“We have, therefore, approached the court to address the illegality on this issue, especially on the illegality of the directive by the FCT Police Command, without a valid order of the court, mandating the bank to freeze and/or place restrictions on the various bank accounts of Dr Philemon Gora, African Investors in Diaspora Association, and thousands of members/clients of AIDA, which is a breach/violation of the Fundamental Right of these people to ownership of immovable property, as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and as such one of the planned lawsuits has been commenced in court to seeking redress in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in Suit No. M/9400/2020, while we are currently working on other lawsuits to finding an avenue to rectify this wrong.