Osun State House of Assembly Speaker Timothy Owoeye

A witness yesterday gave an account of how Osun State House of Assembly Speaker Timothy Owoeye was duped of N38 million by fraudsters.

The witness, Police Sergeant Adetunji Adejare, gave the account at a Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, the state capital.

Adejare told the court that eight accused persons implicated in the matter – Kazeem Agbabiaka, AbdulRasheed Ojonla, Oyebode Femi, Babatunde Oluajo, Adebiyi Kehinde, Oyebamiji Oyeniyi, Ismaila Azeez and Awodunmola Kehinde – were arrested with a telephone tracker.

The witness further testified that the investigation took the police to Imesi-Ile in Ekiti State, as well as Lagos and Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Adejare, who works in the State Intelligent Bureau of the police command, said the investigative team were led to the shrine of one of the defendants at Arubiidi, Ile-Ife and Olojabala via Osunjela, where the complainant was subjected to “inhuman treatment”.

The policeman told the court that the defendants explained the sharing formula of the ransom in their confessional statements.

He said: “The complainant submitted a petition bordering on advanced fee fraud (419), conspiracy and threat to life to the Osun State Police Command on July 10, last year. We started investigation with tracking of the phone number of the first, second, third and fifth defendants.

“We went to Oke-Imesi Ekiti, where the first defendant was arrested. He later led us to Ado-Ekiti, where the second respondent was arrested. We proceeded to Lagos State for the arrest of the third respondent, who had travelled to Abuja by flight. The Intelligent Response Team in Abuja eventually arrested him with a tracker.

“The first defendant claimed to have bought a Toyota Highlander Jeep and the second defendant confessed to have used his own share to purchase the same type of Jeep but had not been delivered to him.”

The police sergeant said Bamidele Tosin, who was said to be a motor dealer, was arrested through the help of the Director of AMK Motors in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He added: “The motor dealer confessed that the fourth defendant, Babatunde Oluajo, paid him in US dollars for the two jeeps of the first and second defendants.”

The witness explained how the investigative team recovered dollar and naira, unregistered Toyota Highlander Jeep, single-barrelled gun, cartridges and other items in the home of the first, second, third and fourth defendants.

He added that the sixth defendant was arrested for his role in the threat to life of the complainant and the sending of his nude video to police Sergeant Arawole Jimoh, who volunteered a statement that led to the arrest of the seventh and eighth defendants who had been using the video to extort money from friends and associates of the complainant.

But attempt by the prosecution counsel, Moses Faremi, to tender the statements of the defendants was opposed by counsel to the accused persons.

Messrs Kazeem Badmus, J. P. Jones, O. U. Yusuf and Chief A. Olodo, said the statements were signed by their clients under duress.

The court adjourned the matter till July 1 for trial-within-trial.