An herbalist, Adeniyi Adewunmi, has been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly swindling an ailing businessman out of N190m.
The 43-year-old reportedly collected the sum from the complainant, one Lawrence Akanbi, in tranches on the pretext that he would help him find a cure for his illness.
PUNCH Metro learned that Adewunmi and Akanbi struck a relationship sometime in February 2016 when the businessman consulted him in the Ajao Estate area of the state, seeking medicines for diabetes, asthma, and deliverance from a spiritual attack.
The police alleged that Akanbi paid part of the sum to the herbalist in cash and made several deposits into his bank account.
The suspect was said to have come up with different gimmicks to sustain the alleged fraud each time the victim was suspicious.
It, however, dawned on him that he had been hoodwinked when his illness persisted.
The businessman had invited the herbalist to his house on Ajao Estate early January 2018 to collect another sum of money when he was arrested.
“The complainant is a businessman. He met the herbalist on the road sometime in February 2016. The herbalist started collecting money from him and gave him medicines. Having paid N190m to the herbalist, he discovered that he was a fraudster. He paid in tranches of N5m, N10m, N20m, N50m and even paid part of the sum into the suspect’s account.
“The suspect had come to the complainant’s house on Ajao Estate to collect more money from him when he was arrested by the police from the Area D Command, Mushin,” a police source said.
The source explained that the case was later transferred to the Force Intelligence Bureau, Obalende, for further investigation.
The suspect was arraigned on Monday at the Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on four counts of obtaining money under false pretenses and stealing.
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Friday Mameh, told the court that the alleged offense contravened sections 287, 314(a), 314(2) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read in part, “That you, Adeniyi Adewunmi, sometime in February 2016, on Ajao Estate, Oshodi, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did commit a felony, to wit: obtaining money under false pretenses.
“That you, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did obtain the sum of N190m from one Lawrence Akanbi, on the pretext that you will use it to cure him of his diabetes, asthma and spiritual attack, a representation you knew to be false.
“That you, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did steal the sum of N190m from one Lawrence Akanbi, on the pretext that you will use it to cure him of diabetes and asthma and deliver him from a spiritual attack, but you converted the money to your own use, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty and elected summary trial.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, A.F.O. Botoku, admitted him to bail in the sum of N20m with two sureties each in like sum, adding that one of the sureties should be a level 15 officer in the state civil service.
The case was adjourned till February 12, 2018, while the defendant was remanded in prison pending when his bail conditions would be perfected.