Criminal Law

How we trailed App Designer, Owolo who duped Covenant University of N186m -EFCC

Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday , May 16, 2023, admitted in evidence more documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against one Dan Onorouioghene Owolo, a former Covenant University App Developer, who is being prosecuted for an alleged N186.5m fraud.

Dan Owolo is standing trial on a three-count charge bordering on stealing and money laundering to the tune of N186, 552, 909.00(One Hundred and Eighty-six Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Nine Naira.

Led by the prosecution counsel, A.O Mohammed, the third prosecution witness, PW3, Ahmed Audu Abubakar, an investigator with the EFCC, narrated to the court the events that led to the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the defendant.

According to him, “Sometime in May 2019, the defendant was brought to our office by a representative of Covenant University.

“They came with him alongside a petition alleging that he stole about N186m through an application that the school asked him to develop for the payment of school fees as well as payment from other vendors.

“As a team, we looked at the petition, understood the nature of the petition and commenced investigation immediately.

“Due to the nature of the petition, the allegation was that he was paid to create an application for the payment of school fees and payments from other vendors. The defendant created an app named CU-Sanwo. It is important to note that the defendant was not contracted from outside to do the job, but a staff of the University when this assignment was given to him.

“He engaged a company that provided him with the platform, through which he created the app. The name of the company is Shockinflux.

“The app works in such a way that students go to the school portal to make payments online. A wallet is attached to the app that receives payment of school fees from students and further disburses randomly to five nominated bank accounts by the school for onward utilisation by the school. No other account should be linked to the wallet asides the five accounts nominated by the school.

“The defendant used his expertise and the access he had to the app to manipulate and move funds to his personal account for his personal use.”

Giving details of the steps taken upon the arrest of the defendant, Abubakar told the court that “When the defendant was handed over to us, we checked his BVN and got the list of accounts linked to his BVN. We thereafter wrote letters to the banks, requesting his account statement, in order to trace the fraudulent transactions.

The prosecution counsel sought to tender the defendant’s statements of account in evidence.

“We seek to tender the Zenith Bank letter dated 23rd May, 2019 and its attachment addressed to the Head, EGCS, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“Also, the Ecobank letter dated 28 May, 2019 addressed to the EC, EFCC and its attachment.”

The documents were admitted and marked exhibits B and C.

Continuing his evidence, Abubakar revealed that in the process of analysing the defendant’s statement of account, the name Adedayo Abimbola Oladayo was amongst the major beneficiaries of funds.

According to him, “In some cases, funds were paid directly to the above name from the wallet.

“We investigated the account of Adedayo Abimbola Oladayo. And at that time, she was a staff of Aero contractors. We invited her and she honoured the invitation. In her volunteered statement, she said the monies received from the defendant were largely for air ticket purchase.

“We wrote a letter to the bank and requested her statement of account and received responses.

“We also asked her to provide copies of the air tickets she bought for the defendant, which she did. She bought tickets for other local flights, as well as international flights.”

Abubakar further told the court that analysis of the account showed several debits into Dan Owolo’s account between July and December 2018, which were monies fraudulently moved from the wallet created by the defendant.

Citing how the defendant used the stolen funds, Abubakar said: “The last transaction on the 28th of August, 2018 was a transfer of N4.5m to Unique Americans.

“We invited the company, Unique Americans, and they honoured the invitation and volunteered their statement.

“They said the money was sent to them by the defendant for the purchase of a vehicle which the defendant confirmed.

“The defendant also transferred the sum of One Million Naira to one Faith Nancy, his wife.

“The sum of N2.5 million was paid into the defendant’s account from Shockinflux

“There was a debit transaction of Two Million Naira that carries the name of Owolo Edith.

“The debit of N1m was a cash withdrawal by the defendant.

“All through October to December 2018, there were various credit transactions with similar narrations, similar to the ones stated earlier.

“After a series of investigation, including the analysis of bank statements, statement- taking of various beneficiaries, the team confronted the defendant with the various evidence gathered in the course of the investigation and he made useful statements in response to the findings he was confronted with.”

The statements of the defendant were tendered in evidence, admitted and marked as exhibit F.

Justice Awogboro adjourned the matter to June 6 for continuation of trial.

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