Sunday, December 4, 2022

Police detain journalist for exposing Ekiti APC candidate over alleged N3 billion fraud

The politician allegedly defrauded his victim on the pretext of helping him to acquire property around the Gwarinpa area of Abuja.

• October 4, 2022
Ayodeji Adebayo and Akinlayo Kolawole
Ayodeji Adebayo and Akinlayo Kolawole

The police have detained a journalist, Ayodeji Adebayo, over a story exposing the alleged fraudulent activities of Akinlayo Kolawole, a House of Representatives candidate for Ekiti North Federal Constituency (II), on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). 

Mr Adebayo, a publisher of the Daily Metro News, was arrested last week Friday by a team of armed policemen, on the orders of Mr Kolawole, in connection with the story. 

The journalist was arrested in Abuja and moved to Wuse Zone 3 police station before he was later transferred to the FCIID, Alagbon in Lagos. 

A source who pleaded anonymity told Peoples Gazette that the story exposed how Mr Kolawole allegedly swindled a Port Harcourt-based oil mogul, Johnson Akinnawonu, who also doubles as the Director of JAAC Nigeria Limited, to the tune of N3 billion. 

Mr Adebayo was said to have pulled down the story from his website after he was repeatedly threatened by unknown persons alleged to be close to Mr Kolawole. 

The story written from a “petition” dated March 2022, and obtained by our reporter, exposed how Mr Kolawole and his lawyer, Rotimi Olorunfemi, allegedly defrauded Mr Akinnawonu, on the pretext of helping him to acquire property around the Gwarinpa area of Abuja. 

The duo, however, allegedly failed to deliver the property. 

The petition titled, “Criminal Conversion and Obtaining of N1.9 billion Under False Pretence” was written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by Mr Akinnawonu, through his lawyer Barrister Adejumola Ajayi. 

Part of the petition read, “That sometime between 2013 and 2015 the duo of Messrs. Akinlayo Davidson Kolawole and Rotimi Olorunfemi (a purported estate Manager and his Solicitor) with their office address at Akure made representation to our clients to procure some real estate property for them at Abuja and Lagos.

“Property tagged Tantalizer building at Aminu Kano Crescent, off Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Wuse 11 Abuja.

“Property tagged multiple three (3) storey building of former Federal government guest houses covering about 10,000 Square metres of land at Ahmadu Bello Way in Lagos.

“Property formerly occupied by NEPA at Kings Way Road Lagos on about 4000 square metres of land which sales obtained from our clients amounted to N1,860,000,000 (One billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty Million Naira).

“That within same period Akinlayo Davidson Kolawole obtained an additional sum of N46,000,000 (Forty-Six Million Naira) from our clients to convert their Opebi residential building to commercial building and as well collected rent of N10,400,000 (Ten Million and Four Hundred Thousand Naira) rent from our client’s tenants occupying their property at Plot 176 Herbert Macaulay Road without performance and account.”

In another petition addressed to Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force CID, dated June 15, 2022, titled “Obtaining N2.102 billion by false pretence and criminal conversion of same,” Mr Akinnawonu asked the police to arrest Messrs Kolawole and Olorunfemi. 

The petition states that Mr Akinnawonu was currently sick and has been flown abroad following the trauma he suffered as a result of being duped. 

Lagos police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin, did not return calls from The Gazette seeking reactions to Mr Adebayo’s continued incarceration in police custody. 

When contacted, Mr Olorunfemi said the case was already in court and wouldn’t like to comment. “I am a lawyer and I don’t discuss such issues in public,” he said over the phone  

Also, Mr Kolawole could not be reached as at the time of filing this report. Several calls made to his mobile returned unanswered.

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