The Rivers State Police Command yesterday paraded one Kelly Nwogu, who was identified as the Managing Director of Livelihood Homes Limited, aka ‘The Villa’, for allegedly defrauding 494 land buyers of N800 million.
Speaking with journalists before parading the suspect, the state Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chuks Enwonwu, explained that Nwogu, who could neither provide the land nor refund the money to the buyers, was later released on bail.
Enwonwu stated that the suspect later jumped police bail, adding that the development forced the police to revoke Nwogu’s bail and re-arrested him for further investigation.
“I have called you (journalists) here today, essentially to let the world know that we have come to the logical conclusion of our investigation in the case of advance fee fraud reported by one Nwankwo Orieagu ‘male’ and 493 others against Kelly Nwogu, the Managing Director, Livelihood Homes Limited, aka The Villa.
“Recall that the suspect, Kelly Nwogu, was arrested in October, this year, when he was admitted to police bail, but jumped bail, leading to the revocation of his bail. He was consequently re-arrested for further investigation.
“In the end, Nwogu could not advance any reasonable probability to refund his clients, whom he had defrauded to the tune of N800 million. Based on that, the investigating team from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) ipso facto, recommended him for arraignment,
“He will be arraigned at the Federal High Court (in Port Harcourt) immediately after this briefing on 494 counts as contained in Charge No, FHC/PH/399C/2019. His arraignment is in compliance with the statutory requirement and the need to set the trial in motion, having established a prima facie case against him.”
Speaking at the State Police Command before being driven to the Federal High Court, Nwogu told journalists that he did not commit any crime, adding that the entire thing was just land transaction.
“This is not a criminal offence, rather it is a land transaction. In Nigeria today, every real estate company buys land on credit. Livelihood Homes Limited is not an exception. We also buy lands on credit. In this case, it was just 100 plots of land that were made so popular in a negative way.
“I have told the buyers that anyone that is due for their land, the company would give them their land and those not due for land, we give them time to pay in installment. Ninety-nine per cent of the 494 people we are talking about have not even finished paying for the land.
“We cannot refund the money; what we can give is the land. I brought the list of the buyers by myself to the police, but the police turned against me. All the police did was to arrest me, put me inside a cell without any reason.
“If I have a problem with the customers, why were they bringing food and giving me money in the cell. It is the customers that have been sustaining me all this while. It is not fraudulent; at the end of this matter, I will remain the Number One real estate man in Rivers State,” the suspect said.