N436m fraud: Court summons businesswoman, Halimat Tejuosho

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The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has summoned . Haleems Nigeria Limited, for allegedly defrauding her financier of N436.3m earmarked for the execution of a building contract awarded by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Upon securing a contract for the construction of 500 units of houses at Karshi FCT, Abuja, in May 2021, Ms Tejuosho reportedly approached Emmanuel Suku to partner with her as a financier and asked him for an initial advance fee of N300m and another N136.3m paid in tranches to her personal and company accounts.

According to Suku, he was entitled to 30 per cent of the contract deal valued at N4.47 billion per the agreement of his partnership contained in a police investigation report.

However, he was aghast when he eventually discovered the project had been at a standstill through WhatsApp video call he had with his brothers at the site.

“That no work has been done on the project site since the groundbreaking ceremony. An uncompleted gatehouse structure and two (2) shipping containers were seen on the site. There were, however, no workers, equipment and building supplies seen on the site,” a police investigation report signed by a police commissioner, Mohammed Yakubu, said.

He later learnt the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry had withdrawn the project from Ms Tejuosho and her company for breaching the terms of the contract.

When confronted with the findings, Ms Tejuosho “could not give a satisfactory account of how she spent the money” and began making moves to flee the country to evade accountability to her financier.

A further investigation into her financial accounts showed how the businesswoman had lavished the project’s funds on four exotic cars worth N150m luxury shoes and bags, designer watches, a soundproof generator for her house and other electronic items worth millions purchased from Cash ‘N’ Carry store.

From the project funds, Ms Tejuosho also doled out scholarships to 30 students attending Espam Formation University in Cotonou, Benin Republic, where she serves as a chancellor.

Her statements of account also showed that she wired several millions of naira to one Ifeoma Vivienne Obilor, an interior decorator to pimp her residence in Peace Garden Estate, Sangotedo, Lagos with tasteful furniture worth a fortune.

A chunk of Ms Tejuosho financier’s funds was traced to one Royal Apparel, said to be her staff, with Heritage Bank account number 5100351905 which had received N200 million in tranches.

The police commissioner recommended Ms Tejuosho’s prosecution after establishing a case of advance fee fraud, criminal diversion of funds, criminal breach of trust and cheating against her.

The matter with suit no FCT/HC/CV/589/2022 has been adjourned till January 25, 2023, for further hearing.

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