A 44-year-old staff of a suspected ponzi scheme, Monrole Global Incorporated Company, Israel Otaru, has been accused of swindling 11 persons, including police officers and public servants seeking grants to engage in agriculture from the company.
Otaru had been standing trial before an Osogbo Magistrate court and had spent some days in Ilesa prison before he was eventually released on bail.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, some of the victims narrated how Otaru allegedly defrauded them after they had paid the sum of N1,826,000 to him for the empowerment opportunity.
They alleged that Otaru claimed the scheme was for agricultural empowerment and not a ponzi scheme, but they were shocked when they discovered that they did not receive any grant and their money was not returned.
One of the victims, Mr. Sanusi Kolawole Babatunde, a police officer, told the court that the accused person was introduced to him as an IT officer with Monrole Global Company by one Alhaja Mogaji before he allegedly gave him some money. He informed the court he gave Otaru a total sum of N331,500, which did not reflect in the company’s account.
According to the police officer, “I was told to pay the sum of N31,500 for registration in order to get me an E-pin, which would link me with the company, and that there was another programme known as ‘fast track,’ which would cost N300,000. Since I also invest in farming, I sold 10 of my rams for N50,000 each and paid the money into Mr. Israel’s account. I didn’t transfer the money in order to have an evidence of the payment.”
Babatunde further told the court that he invited two of his friends, based in Lagos, and that they also paid into the accused person’s account some amount of money. He said he also introduced the scheme to one retired police officer.
“Otaru would always come to Osogbo from Ilorin secretly to defraud other victims. We later discovered that he did not remit the money to the company’s account and that he had already committed similar offence in the company that cost him his job,” the police officer alleged.
Another victim, Mrs. Ogunbanjo Opeyemi, who is a public servant, told the court that the Chief Executive Officer of the Monrole company, Mr. A. Jude, told the victims when they contacted the office that all money collected by Otaru, was not remitted to the company’s account and that he had been declared wanted after he was allegedly caught stealing E-pins.
But the defence counsel, Tunbosun Oladoyin, told the court that all the evidence brought before the court were not tenable because all the money paid into the accused person’s account would have definitely reflected in the company’s account if his client truly obtained them from the victims.
The accused person had pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge bothering on fraud and stealing.
The Police prosecutor, Sergeant Ajayi Sunday, argued that the accused person defrauded other victims, including Alhaja Sherifat and Daramola Samson, and converted the money to his personal use.
The count II of the charge reads in part: “That you (accused) and others at large on January 11, 2017 in Osogbo did fraudulently obtain the sum of one million eight hundred and twenty six thousand naira (N1,826,000,00) only from one woman, Magaji Zainab, with pretence of registering her into Monrole Global Incorporated company, knowing same to be false.”