The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a travel agent, Benjamin Danbawa, for allegedly defrauding a trader to the tune of N1.7m on the pretext of helping him to secure a visa to Canada.
It was learnt that the victim, 28-year-old Ifeanyi Chikwelu, had come to Lagos from Aba, Abia State, where he lives, to process the visa and other documents that would facilitate his relocation to Canada.
It was gathered that the 41-year-old suspect, who hails from the Kachia Local Government Area, Kaduna State, had introduced himself to Chikwelu as a travel agent after they met at the frontage of the German Consulate on Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island.
The suspect allegedly collected from Chikwelu N150,000 visa application fee; N400,000 temporary residency fee; N70,000 agent fee; and N98,000 acceptance fee, on the grounds that the victim was a first-time visitor.
“He also collected N400,000 to put Chikwelu’s bank account in order, N35,000 for hotel reservation, another N35,000 for a cancelled hotel reservation, N35,000 for photos, N150,000 for work permit in Canada and $300 for sending documents to Canada,” a police source added.
It was gathered that Dambawa fled the area in March 2015 after the victim completed the payments.
The alleged fraud was reported at the Victoria Island Police Division and Danbawa was eventually arrested in July, 2016.
Another source said, “Investigations showed that Danbawa was neither registered with Canadian High Commission nor was its employee.”
He was brought by a police prosecutor, Sergeant Cyriacus Osuji, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on two counts bordering on obtaining money under false pretences and stealing.
Osuji told the court that the offences were punishable under sections 312 and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The charges read in part, “That you, Benjamin Danbawa, sometime in March, 2015 at Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N1,703,000 from one Ifeanyi Chikwelu on the pretext that you were going to assist him to procure a visa to travel to Canada; a presentation you knew to be false.”
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail by the presiding magistrate, Mrs. O. M. Ajayi, in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.
The case was adjourned till August 17, for mention.