A property developer, Alhaji Ayobami Oseni, has been sentenced to 2,670 years imprisonment by an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court for defrauding 133 accommodation seekers of N25 million.
Chief Magistrate O. O. Olatunji convicted Oseni after he pleaded guilty to 267 counts of conspiracy, obtaining under false pretenses and stealing.
He got 10 years imprisonment on each of the 267 counts without an option of fine. The sentences, which are to run concurrently, take effect from April 26, last year when Oseni was remanded in prison custody after the revocation of his bail.
The convict also forfeited his building to the Lagos State Government, which the court ordered to sell it, and share the proceeds among the 133 victims.
When his trial began on February 27, 2013, prosecuting counsel Abraham Fadipe, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), described him as the developer of a one-storey building at 3, Church Close, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
He said the building contained four mini-flats and two self-contained apartments. According to Fadipe, Oseni posed as a landlord and erected vacancy signs around Ajao Estate while the building was under construction.
He obtained rents, agency and agreement fees ranging from N160,000 to N300,000 and totaling N25m from at least 133 accommodation seekers on the pretext that each of them would get an apartment in the building.
The prosecution called five witnesses, four of whom testified that when they arrived at the property to take possession, it was already occupied. The prospective tenants petitioned the Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD).
When Fadipe asked him why he obtained money from so many people, Oseni said: “As a developer, one must not reject money.”