Ogun State Police force yesterday arraigned an oil magnate, Chief Salimon Abiodun Ajayi, at a Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta for fraudulently obtaining the sum of N105 million from a company, Alarab Properties.
According to reports, the company is a subsidiary of Obasanjo Holdings Limited (OHL), owned by a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Ajayi, the Balogun of Ijemo in Abeokuta South Council Area and owner of the popular Rantipe Petroleum, was charged to court on a three-count bordering on forgery, fraud and stealing.
The police prosecutor, Sunday Eigbejiale, said the accused fraudulently forged the Sidipon Community Power of Attorney and fraudulently used same to obtain N105 million from Alarab Properties. Eigbejiale told the court that the accused obtained the huge sum in the sales of 67 acres of land at the Sidipon village, along Abeokuta- Sagamu Expressway. The police prosecutor said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 419 revised law of Ogun State 2004.
The charge reads in part: “That you, Salimon Abiodun Ajayi, between 2007 and 2012, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N105 million, property of Alarab Properties, a subsidiary of Obasanjo Holdings Limited, with the pretext that you are in position to sell 67 acres of land to Alarab Properties and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 419 of Ogun State 2004.”
Ajayi, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him. Moving motion for bail application, counsel to the accused, Akolade Afolabi, urged the court to admit his client to bail in line with constitutional provision, since the offence attracts no capital punishment.
Citing Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the defence counsel argued that an accused is presumed innocent until proven contrary. He said the purpose of bail is to secure the presence of the accused in court to face trial and not to punish him.
He assured that Ajayi would not abuse the bail if granted. Ruling on the bail application, however, Chief Magistrate Oriyomi Sofowora admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N250,000 with two sureties in like sum.
The Magistrate thereafter adjourned the case till December 20, 2016. In another development, the House of Representatives, yesterday, raised the alarm over what it called, “the rising spate of land grabbing by foreign companies in the guise of investment in the country.”