The Group Managing Director (GMD) of Afromedia Plc, Akinlola Irewunmi Olapade on Monday gave graphic details of how the foremost outdoor advertising company was defrauded of several millions of naira by ex-Kwara Hotel boss, Alhaji Mohammed Gobir.
Testifying before Justice Raliat Adebiyi, he (Olapade) told the court that the money was released in various currencies.
Mohammed Gobir, an Ilorin-born millionaire and former non-executive director and chairman of Business Development Committee of the company, was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) for allegedly obtaining $1 million (about N198,870,000.00); N514,457,151.87; $2,102,740 (about N418,171,903.80); N123 million and £51,000 (N14,667,898.25).
He is facing a 17-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, stealing, fraud, use of forged documents, and possession of forged documents preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr. A.B.C. Ozioko, he (Olopade) said Gobiri allegedly defrauded the advertising company through a phony investment deal.
Narrating the company’s ordeal in the hand of Gobiri, the witness said the defendant was introduced to Afromedia sometime in 2008 by their Private Placement Consultants, Synergy Capital Advisory Limited, as a high net-worth investor, who was willing to invest N1 billion into the company through the acquisition of shares.
He said based on Gobir’s profile, as potential investor, he later became chairman of the Business Development Committee of the board of directors of the company.
According to the witness, the defendant allegedly used his position to defraud the company.
“Having earn the trust of the company owners, Gobir started demanding large sum 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 a United Kingdom-based bank.
“The company gave Gobir the sum of $1,000,000 in cash and also paid for his travel expenses on a first class return ticket to UK where he would meet with the purported investors, which investigation later revealed never existed nor were the meetings ever held”, the witness told the court.
Olopade also told the court, how Gobiri confessed to the company that his money ( $250,000,000) had earlier been seized by the British authorities over allegations of money laundering, and that he was currently financially handicapped, and needed a bailout in the sum of $3,817,000 to get the European Union Money Laundering Waiver Certificate.
The testimony of the witness will continue tomorrow, Tuesday.