Atoyebi Bamidele, commonly known as Bam-Bam, a Bureau De Change operator, was charged by the police on Tuesday before the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly defrauding traders in Alaba Market of N157 million.
Bamidele, who conducts business as Prosocial International Limited, is accused by the police of three charges each of conspiracy, acquiring, and stealing.
The Force Criminal Investigation Department in Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, brought the accusation against him before the court.
Following a petition that the traders, through their attorney Henry Mejulu, wrote to the police, the defendant was taken into custody and charged.
S. O. Ayodele, the police prosecutor, stated in court during the defendant’s arraignment that the defendant conspired to conduct the crime with others who are still at large.
He claimed that between December 2022 and January 2023, Bamidele committed the offence by fraudulently obtaining a total of N157,206,000 while pretending to assist the traders in obtaining the equivalent in US dollars.
Ayodele testified in court that the defendant obtained the funds from Mrs. Priscilla Oyiowo, the trader’s representative, through Ms. Obinna Ozuah.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant reportedly stole his pocketbook and utilised the money for his own use.
The prosecutor contends that the offence violated Sections 8(a) and 1(1)(c) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, CAP A8 Vol. 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, and was punishable under Section 1(3), Section 383 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C 38, and Section 390 (9) of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The defendant, meanwhile, denied the accusations made against him.
The prosecutor requested that the defendant be held at the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre pending the outcome of the charges in light of the defendant’s not guilty plea.
The defendant’s attorney, E. A. Alafin, however, informed the court that the prosecution had received notice of his client’s bail application after it was filed and served on it.
He urged the judge to grant the broadest possible bail to his client.
The prosecutor, however, objected to the application on the grounds that he needed to read it first before filing a response.