Police arraign BDC operator for N157m fraud

The Police on Tuesday arraigned a Bureau De Change Operator, Atoyebi Bamidele, also known as Bam-Bam, before the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos for allegedly obtaining N157m from traders in Alaba Market under false pretence.

Bamidele who operates under the name Prosocial International Limited is facing three counts of conspiracy, obtaining and stealing preferred against him by the police.

He was charged before the court by the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos.

The defendant was arrested and arraigned following a petition that was written to the police by the traders through their counsel, Henry Mejulu.

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During the arraignment of the defendant, the police prosecuting counsel, S. O. Ayodele, told the court that the defendant conspired with others currently at large to commit the offence.

He said Bamidele perpetrated the act between December 2022 and January 2023 when he fraudulently obtained the total sum of N157,206,000 under false pretence of helping the traders to get the United States dollars equivalent.

Ayodele told the court that the defendant collected the money from the trader’s representative, one Mrs Priscilla Oyiowo through one Obinna Ozuah.

The prosecutor said that the defendant allegedly diverted his purse and used the money for his personal purposes.

According to the prosecutor, the offence committed contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act; CAP A8 Vol 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,  and punishable under section 1(3),383 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C 38, and 390 (9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Meanwhile, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

In view of the defendant’s plea of not guilty, the prosecutor urged the court to remand him at the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre till the determination of the charges.

However, the defendant’s lawyer, E. A. Alafin, told the court that he had filed his client’s bail application and had been served on the prosecution.

He urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.

But the application was opposed by the prosecutor on the grounds that he needed to read through the application and file his response accordingly.

Consequently, Justice Akintayo Aluko, adjourned the matter till October 5, 2023, for hearing of the defendant’s bail application.

The judge also ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service, till the adjourned date.

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