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EFCC Arraigns Nigerian Legal Awards Organiser Over N20m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Legal Blitz Ltd, Mr Lere Fashola before Justice Sherifat Sholebo of Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja over an alleged N20 million theft and issuance of dud cheques.

Fashola and Legal Blitz Ltd were arraigned on a three-count charge of stealing and issuance of dud cheques.

The first defendant, Fashola is the Publisher of ESQ Legal Practice Magazine and convener of the annual Esquire Nigerian Legal Awards, which honours outstanding lawyers across the country.

Operatives of the Advanced Fee Fraud Section of the EFCC revealed that the lawyer was arrested following a petition by Mr Adeyemi Adebola alleging that he obtained the said N20m under false pretence in a property transaction upon representation that the property was assigned to the firm “by the Dependents and Administrators of the Estate of Alhaji Ganiyu Balogun.”

The property is located at Plot 732. Block XXVII (27), Omole Residentlal Scheme. Phase 2, Isheri in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos.

EFCC counsel, Mrs Joy Amahian said that Fashola and Legal Blitz Ltd, between January 5, 2018 and February 28, 2018, in Lagos, “dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N20m, property of Mr. Adeyemi Adebola.”

It said the defendants’ conduct amounted to “stealing, contrary to Sections 278 (1) (f) and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”

The prosecutor also alleged that the defendants in the same period in Lagos “knowing that you had no sufficient fund in your Diamond Bank Plc account, issued Cheque No. 53160448 dated 4th June, 2018 in the sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira Only) as a refund in favour of Mr. Adeyemi Adcbola, which upon presentation was returned unpaid for lack of funds.”

Fashola also allegedly issued another dud cheque on July 4, 2018, which was also returned unpaid for lack of funds.

The prosecutor said that issuance of dud cheque contravened Section 1(l)(b) and (i) of the Dishonoured Cheques Act of 2004.

Justice Sherifat Solebo ordered that the award organiser be remanded at a correctional facility.

“Pending the hearing and the determination of the bail application, the defendant is ordered to be remanded at a correctional facility,” Justice Solebo said.

The case was subsequently adjourned to February 10, 2020 for hearing of the bail application.

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