An Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, Lagos will on August 30 begin the trial of two men who allegedly posed as Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) officials to defraud loan applicants of thousands of Naira.
Prince Akintayo Akinjide and Adesoji Adeyele were arraigned by the police on July 24, 2017, before Mrs. L. I. Balogun on a charge marked MIK/P/65/2017.
They were accused of, among others, obtaining money under false pretences contrary to Sections 285, 311, 312 (1), (a) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
According to Prosecuting Inspector Babajide Williams the defendants presented themselves as LSETF officials and promised to assist their victims gain access to loan schemes at a cost of between N4,500 and N12,000.
“About 300 persons are believed to have fallen victim to this scam,” Williams said.
However, Akinjide and Adeyele pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Balogun granted each defendant N200,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum who must be gainfully employed and have evidence of tax payment for three years.
Similarly, Last April 6, the police brought a 32-year-old man, Emmanuel Olajide, before Mrs. G. O. Anifowoshe of an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court for allegedly printing and selling fake LSETF application forms.
Olajide was arraigned on a charge marked MIK/J/36/2017 for alleged forgery and obtaining money under false pretences contrary to Sections 285, 361 and 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Prosecuting Inspector E. Victor told the court that the defendant printed LSETF logos on fake loan application forms, “which he sold at the rate of N10, 000 each to his innocent victims.”
Victor said the defendant promised his victims assurance of a successful loan application process knowing same to be false.
The defendant pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Anifowoshe granted him N200,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum who must be gainfully employed and have evidence of tax payment for the last three years.
Olajide’s trial continues on September 4.
Meanwhile, the LSETF, which confirmed the defendants’ prosecution, said the form and the process for its loan scheme are “absolutely free of charge” for all Lagos residents.
LSETF Executive Secretary, Akin Oyebode urged the public to report to the police anyone making a request for payment or inducement of any kind “as such request is nothing but fraudulent.”
He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, every member of the public should note that the process for accessing the LSETF loans is administered transparently, devoid of any consideration of ethnicity, religion, gender or political affiliations.
“It is merit-based and open to all Lagos residents who desire to secure financing to grow their businesses and consequently create jobs for many unemployed youths.
“All persons interested in applying for the loan can either pick up the form at LSETF liaison offices in their nearest local government office or download from the LSETF website free of charge.”
The LSETF, Oyebode added, was set up by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to solve the problem of access to finance for small businesses who require funds to expand their businesses and in turn put millions of people to work.