Saturday, June 22, 2013

I’m not a fraudster, says ex-Lagos deputy gov


Former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, has maintained that she is innocent of the allegation of fraud levelled against her and her son, Samson.
In a statement made available to Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, Ojikutu denied that she and Samson obtained N130m under false pretences from the complainant, Mr. Cajetan Okekearu.
She claimed that the said amount was collected under genuine circumstances for the sale of a plot of land to Okekearu.
According to the statement, the said plot belonging to Ojikutu and her late husband, Sampson Ojikutu, is Block 4, Plot 24, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme, Phase 1.
It, however, accused the complainant of constructing on a wrong plot of land – plot 23 – which is the adjoining plot.
The statement, which was signed by Ojikutu’s solicitors, B. Ayorinde and Co., read in part, “That subsequently, Mr. Cajetan Okekearu commenced construction on Block 4, Plot 23, Lekki Residential Scheme Phase1, the land adjoining Block 4, Plot 24, Lekki Residential Scheme Phase 1, whereupon one Afolabi A. A. Coker successfully challenged Mr. Okekearu’s entry onto the land.
“It was after the events above that our clients discovered for the first time that Mr. Okekearu had built on Block 4, Plot 23, Lekki Residential Scheme Phase 1 instead of Block 4, Plot 24, Lekki Residential Scheme Phase 1.”
Ojikutu maintained that she and her son had relied on the authority of a Letter of Administration (without a will) granted by the Probate Registry of the Lagos State High Court in 2010 with reference no PHC/2114/2010, “pursuant to which my aforesaid son and me are the administrators of my aforesaid late husband’s estate, which includes the said land.”
The statement further said that Alhaja Ojikutu had signed an undertaking to refund N130m to Okekearu, and had already paid N50m out of the said amount.
Also in the statement, Ojikutu’s lawyers maintained that she had legal rights to the land as its joint owner, and therefore, had the prerogative to sell following her husband’s death in 2008. It also denied that Ojikutu ever used the said land in any transaction prior to when the land was sold to Okekearu.
Earlier in the week, the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police had declared the former deputy governor wanted for allegedly defrauding a land buyer of N130m.
The SFU alleged that the suspect and her son, Samson, fraudulently obtainedthe money from Okekearu by selling a plot of land belonging to one Mr. Afolabi, to the complainant.
The police also accused Ojikutu of jumping bail and not willing to abide by the terms of payment, which should have had her completely refund Okekearu by November 2012.
Meanwhile, Ojikutu is away in the United States of America and so far, there is no indication of when she intends to return to the country, in spite of her status as a wanted citizen.
She directed all questions from Saturday PUNCH to her lawyer, Mr. Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), who did not pick his calls or respond to a text message to his phone.

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