By Bennett Oghifo and Chiemelie Ezeobi
An Estate Surveyor, Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo is said to be critically ill at a Police hospital in Lagos, following alleged ill-treatment he received at the Alagon Police station where he is being held after his client complained that he defrauded him of over N500 million on a spurious land deal.
Okoronkwo was detained by the police after his client, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwabuoku wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police that he was defrauded by Okoronkwo to the tune of N577,590,792, in addition to threat to his life. The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was copied in the petition dated 17th May, 2017.
Regardless, Okoronkwo has denied the allegations, according to his Solicitors, Libra Law Office, who said their client is under armed guard in hospital and that he could barely walk and had problem urinating. They also complained that he has been denied bail, regardless of the fact that theirs was a civil matter.
In his petition, Nwabuoku said through his Solicitors, Ameh Ameh & Co., that “Sometime in 2016 one Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge introduced to our client who resides and does business in the United States of America (USA), one Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo of KingsCourtRealtors Plot 321A, Akin Ogunlewe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos (hereinafter referred to as “The Petitioned”) whom he described as a reputable professional property agent in Nigeria. In deep trust for Mr. Michael, our client subsequently proceeded to commence business transactions with him.
“That by a letter dated 15th day of December, 2016 the petitioned, purportedly acting on behalf of KingsCourtRealtors. (a firn supposedly engaged in realty)’ offered to sell through his company, KenBouk Global Investment Ltd., 150 plots of land lying and situate at Ifedele Agunbiade Village Sagotedo, Eti-Osa Local Government, Lagos State.”
The land, they told his client would cost N5,250,000.00 per plot to be paid in unionism for the 150 plots, bringing the total cost of the said land to N787,500,000.00k
The solicitors said, “The petitioned cajoled our client into believing that the said land had a superior title document by way of Certificate of Occupancy to the benefit of one Mr. Wai Agunbjade (Baale) and Alhaji Sikiru Nasiru (Secretary) on behalf of themselves and members of Ifedele Agundiade village in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State dated 24th day of April, 2015 with Certificate of occupancy No. 87/87/2015-I.”
The solicitors said “It was further agreed between our client and the petitioned that 75% of the total sum of N787, 500, 000.00k (Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only was to be paid at the initial stage and the remaining 25%-at the completion stage.
“That our client accepted the petitioned’s offer, whereupon he proceeded, in fiduciary trust, to send monies at different occasions to him, which cumulatively climaxed at N577,590,792.”
According to the Solicitors, after payment they sought to visit the land but were told stories that they could not understand. “That on our client’s return to Nigeria to inspect the land which he in concert with a foreign partner, supposedly bought through the petitioned, he was taken to a location by Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge in the far interior part of wooded area, where they got to the end of the dirt road in a swampy area, having a lake of canoes going back and forth Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge started pointing around not sure where the land is and more, our client was uncontrollably shocked and dismayed that Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge and the Petitioned who claimed to have been to the land several times and described same to him with several pictures of the land, could no longer locate the land.
They said, “Consequent upon the foregoing and our spirited investigations, we made the following findings: That the purported Certificate of Occupancy heavily relied upon were known to the petitioned to be fake and does not confer any title; That Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge master minded this fraud and introduced the petitioned as a front to actualise his callous intent; That the persons listed in the kangaroo Deed of Assignment were in fact fictitious persons having no valid interest in the said land.
“That the entire transaction from inception was a scam of monumental proportion carefully orchestrated between the petitioned and Mr. Michael Owolabi Alonge to swindle our client and his foreign partner of money sought to be invested in the country; That the activities of the petitioned and his cohorts are in gross violation of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. A6 LFN, 2004 and other ancillary criminal legislations.”
Thus, they concluded that their client was defrauded by the petitioned and his collaborators and urged the Inspector General to “cause the immediate investigation into the transactions that led to payment of the above sum in favour of the petitioned; That your agency should kindly investigate the threat to our client’s life with a view to prosecuting the petitioned and guaranteeing the security of his precious life. This is moreso as he was compelled to return to abroad largely for the safety of his life; That you cause the arrest and unraveling of all persons who participated in this scam of unimaginable proportion with the view of prosecuting them to the full extent of the law; In addendum, that the petitioned cause to be returned all such monies paid to him by our client in pursuit of the fictitious land transaction.”
However, Mr. Okoronkwo denied the allegations in his statement issued by his Solicitors, Libra Law Office, which they titled, ‘False Criminal Complaint and Police High Handedness Against Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo’.
According to his Solicitors’ statement, “Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo a seasoned Professional, a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer of Kings Court Realtors, presently lies critically ill at the Falomo Police Hospital where he is taking treatment with an armed police guard in his room.”
This, he said was after an “Agreement for Accord and Satisfaction that was proposed and signed already by Mr. Okonrokwo in the presence of the Police IPOs agreeing that the land in question be sold and the proceeds used to refund the part payment made by the Complainant one Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku of KenBuok Global Investments Limited. The refund was to be of money paid by Mr. Okoronkwo as a loan to the Mr. Nwanbuoku for the purchase of land to which title has been passed to him. The recital captures the tenor of the transaction.
“It is instructive to note, that the Land in question is a Lagos State Government scheme and is covered by a Certificate of Occupancy. A land search was conducted by our firm prior to its purchase to authenticate the documents and who the owners are. The C of O was found to be valid and the land unencumbered.
“The land itself is described in the survey plan attached to the C of O which same survey plan was used as the description in the Deed of Assignment conveying all 150 plots to the purchaser by the owners of the land. The Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku was handed over the Original Certificate of Occupancy, along with the Deed of Assignment and a Power of Attorney, duly vesting the land in his company, his designated beneficiary. The receipt of all of these documents, was duly acknowledged by the complainant by email on receipt.”
The solicitors said, “Mr. Okoronkwo was rushed to the Police hospital on the 15th of November when he was found to be very weak and ill in the cell. His blood pressure had risen to 200/120. He was administered first aid and rushed to the hospital by the Police Prosecutor in the company of the police doctor who administered life-saving first aid and an armed Mobile Policeman.
“Mr. Okoronkwo’s situation is still very dire. He had collapsed in the hospital on the night of the 15th of November, completely unaware of where he was. He had to be assisted in walking and had difficulty urinating. The doctors have battled to stabilise him, but continues to need medical attention.
“Mr. Okoronkwo continues to be denied bail by the Police Authority despite the fact that this is a civil transaction and him the victim. He has an armed Policeman stationed in his room 24/7 and is confused as to what he has done to deserve this in a democracy where the Rule of Law is supposed to operational and Mr. Kennedy Nwabuoku and his backers are very aware of the infraction of Mr. Okoronkwo’s liberties and the excesses of the Police in this matter.”