Ilorin-born businessman and former Kwara Hotel’s board chairman, Alh. Mohammed Gobir, has been arrested by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for duping leading outdoor advertising firm, Afromedia Plc out of N1.7 billion over a period of 7 years in phony investment deals.
A director of the outdoor advertising agency, Alh. Gobir joined Afromedia in June 2008, after signifying interest in acquiring N1billion worth of shares in the company through private placement consultants, Synergy Capital Advisory Limited.
He indeed acquired shares in the company though far less than he signified but it was merely a bait for the unwary management and board of directors of Afromedia.
The 55-year-old father-of-two was consequently made chairman of the Business Development Committee of the board of directors of the company having touted himself as a highly connected person.
However, it was the same position he later used to defraud Afromedia using phony investment deals to fraudulently obtain monies from the company.
“He started demanding large amounts of money, which he termed as business expenses to international consultants, Royal Exchange Bureau in the United Kingdom in order to facilitate and secure investments from his bank in the UK, Natwest Bank London.
“The company gave Gobir $1,000,000 in cash and paid for his travel expenses on a first class return ticket to UK where he would meet with the purported investors, which investigation later showed never existed nor were the meetings ever held.
“One day after he had collected several amounts of money and made several trips to the UK to meet with the purported investors, the group managing director of Afromedia, Akin Olopade accompanied him to the UK for another round of meeting ostensibly to close the deal.
“But as soon as they landed in the UK, Gobir made a telephone call in which his travel companion overheard him scream aloud, saying his assets were seized by UK anti-money laundering authorities.
“He even showed the GMD an email sent to him for the alleged seizure.
“He told the GMD that his money, $250,000,000 was seized by the British authorities five years earlier for alleged money laundering and that he was currently financially handicapped and he needed a bailout of $3,817,000 to get the European Union Money Laundering Waiver Certificate.
“The suspect later presented a “waiver certificate”, to the company and promised to pay them the monies he had collected but never did,” sources alleged.
It was said that after it dawned on the management and other directors of Afromedia that Alh. Mohammed Gobir was defrauding the company, a petition was written against him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), and he was arrested by the agency’s operatives on Saturday in his Ikoyi home.