The trial of an octogenarian, Pa Adeola Ajidahun, who was accused of fraudulent land sale, was stalled on Wednesday by the absence of a defence counsel, Abdulkareem Adio.
The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police had arraigned Pa Ajidahun,86, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court, Lagos Island, for allegedly obtaining money under false pretence.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Adio sent a letter to the court apologizing for his absence, which he said was due to a legal commitment at the Court of Appeal, Lagos.
Pa Ajidahun was however present in court.
Adio therefore asked the court to adjourn the trial of the accused.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs Awogboro said the definite trial would commence on November 25 and emphasized that Adio must be present in court on the date.
Ajidahun was slammed with a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy to defraud by false pretence and stealing with others now at at large.
He was arrested following a petition forwarded to the police anti-fraud unit by one Kehinde Ola, who claimed he was defrauded by the octogenarian and that he had refused to refund his money despite several entreaties.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
The SFU had alleged that the accused conspired to obtain a sum of N30 million from Ola, under the pretext that the said sum was the cost of two plots of land at Lekki Penninsula Resettlement Scheme in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
An official of the police anti-fraud unit, Mrs Suzan Ezema, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, had told the court that the offence was committed sometime in December, 2013.
The offence, according to the police contravened Sections 409, 312(1) and 285 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
The three- count charge reads: “That Adeola Ajidahun ‘m’ and others at large between 1st and 14th December, 2013 at Mega Chicken Restaurant at Ikota, Ajah, Lagos within Lagos Magisterial District did conspire among yourselves to commit felonies to obtain money by false pretence and stealing and thereby committeed an offence punishable under Section 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.
“That you Adeola Ajidahun ‘m’ and others at large on the aforesaid date, place and magisterial district, with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N30 million from one Kehinde Ola, under false pretence that you were selling him two plots of land at Lekki Penninsula Resettlement Scheme in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, a representation that you know to be false and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 312(1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.
“That you Adeola Ajidahun ‘m’ and others at large on the aforesaid date, place and magisterial district did steal the sum of N30 million property of Kehinde Ola, which you fraudulently took from him to sell him two plots of land and fraudulently converted same to your own use and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 285(1) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.”
The case was formerly handled by a magistrate, Mrs O.O Oshin, who granted Pa Ajidahun bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum in December, 2014.
The court held that the sureties must show evidence of tax remittance to the Lagos State government in the last three years, while one of the sureties must be a senior civil servant on level 16.
The accused was remanded in Ikoyi Prison until he was able to perfect his bail about seven months later.