$1.4million Fraud: Court Admits Evidences Against US Convicted Fraudster, Kolawole Erinle

A Lagos Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, has admitted more evidences against a United State Convicted Fraudster, Kolawole Adedayo Erinle, who was arraigned before the court for an alleged $1.4million fraud.

Erinle and his company, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, are standing trial on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars).

They were previously arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the same jurisdictions on March 11, 2022 but the trial could not be laid to rest before retirement of the judge. Subsequently, the case was reassigned to Justice Oshodi, as it began de novo on October 28, 2022.

The defendant is alleged to have defrauded the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, KCUMB, in the United States of the said sum.

He again pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was re-arraigned.

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At today’s proceedings, the court admitted documents tendered by EFCC counsel, Tayo Banjo as part of evidence to prove the case against him.

The documents included bundles of correspondences between the Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI relating to the alleged offence, as well as extrajudicial statements made to the EFCC by one Victoria, the mother of the defendant and one A. Abdulazeez, a clearing agent that helped the defendant in the clearing of vehicles imported into the country.

The fourth prosecution witness, an EFCC investigator, Alex Ogbole, had on February 10, 2023, told the court that the EFCC led the Nigerian-end of the investigation into the alleged crime, and that investigation showed that the mother was a beneficiary.

He had told the court that the EFCC received a petition from the United States, US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI which indicated that the victim of the alleged fraud, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, KCUMB had been a victim of Business Email Compromise, BEC.

However, when the prosecution sought to tender the correspondences between the EFCC and the FBI, which also included a judgment of a US court convicting the defendant of an eight-count charge bordering on bank fraud, which saw him serve a 27-month jail-term, the defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, raised objections to their admissibility.

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Arguments were thereafter taken by the court as both parties argued on the admissibility or otherwise of the said documents.

After listening to the arguments, Justice Oshodi dismissed the objection raised by the defence noting that “the weight should be considered, and relevance is key to admissibility”.

Thereafter, Justice Oshodi admitted the statements of the mother as Exhibit Q to Q3; statement of Abdulazeez as Exhibit Q4; FBI correspondence dated December 21, 2022 as Exhibit Q5; FBI correspondence dated March 8, 2022 and February 8, 2022 as Exhibit Q6 and Q7, respectively.

Ogbole, who began his testimony on February 10, 2023, further testified in his examination-in-chief led by EFCC Counsel, Banjo, that Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, company of the defendant received the said sum from the Bank of America account of one Edada Autoparts and Machinary Spareparts Inc.

He said: “Edada was the primary recipient of the proceeds of the Business Email Compromise, BEC.
“$850,000 was first credited to Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited here in Nigeria following which another $560,000 was sent to the account, totalling $1,410,000.

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“When the money got in, between March 6, 2019 and March 15, 2019, it was disbursed by Erinle at various times.”

According to the witness, the defendant, “who took possession of the proceeds of the fraud, tried to explain that there was one Edward Dada, but he couldn’t provide any information on the said Dada, and our investigation revealed that the said Dada never existed”.

Earlier in the course of proceedings, Erinle Counsel moved the bail application for his client, which was strongly opposed by the prosecution.

The case has been adjourned till tomorrow, April 4, 2023 for ruling of the bail application.

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One of the charges reads: “Kolawole Adedayo Erinle and Edward Dada (still at large), sometime in 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to falsely represent yourselves as J.E. Dunn, a local construction company in America, with intent to gain monetary advantage in the sum of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) by creating a fake domain name and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No 14, 2006.”

Another count reads: “Kolawole Adedayo Erinle, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited and Edward Dada (still at large) on or about the 3rd day of May 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retain the control of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) in your Access Bank account, which sum you knew to be proceeds of various internet and cybercrime.”

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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