Home » BDC Operator Arraigned in Lagos Court over N157m Fraud Charges

BDC Operator Arraigned in Lagos Court over N157m Fraud Charges

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

In a recent development that has caught the attention of Lagos’ financial community, Atoyebi Bamidele, a prominent Bureau De Change Operator popularly known in local circles as “Bam-Bam,” found himself on the wrong side of the law. On Tuesday, he was formally charged in the Federal High Court in Lagos over allegations that sent shockwaves through the local trading community: defrauding traders from the bustling Alaba Market of a whopping N157 million.

Operating his currency exchange enterprise under the banner of Prosocial International Limited, Bamidele now grapples with a trio of severe charges. These include conspiracy, fraud, and theft. The diligent investigative work of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, nestled in Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, led to these charges being filed.

The case originated from an official complaint lodged by the defrauded traders. They entrusted their legal fight to their attorney, Henry Mejulu, who has since been working tirelessly to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice. In the courtroom, S. O. Ayodele, the prosecuting counsel representing the police, painted a concerning picture.

 He presented a timeline, alleging that between December 2022 and January 2023, Bamidele, possibly working in tandem with other yet-to-be-identified collaborators, masterminded this sizeable financial deception. Bamidele’s pitch was enticing yet simple: he offered the traders the equivalent of their N157,206,000 in U.S. dollars. But, rather than uphold his end of the deal, he’s accused of diverting this colossal sum for personal endeavors.

Further intricacies of this financial web were unravelled in court. It emerged that Bamidele didn’t deal directly with all the traders. Instead, Mrs. Priscilla Oyiowo, acting as a representative of the traders, was the primary point of contact. Another name, Obinna Ozuah, surfaced as a key intermediary in these transactions.

Drawing on legal references, the prosecutor highlighted that Bamidele’s actions, if proven true, would contravene various provisions of both the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act and the comprehensive Criminal Code Act of Nigeria.

When confronted with these weighty accusations, Bamidele took a firm stand, vehemently denying all charges and pleading not guilty. Ayodele, not swayed by Bamidele’s plea, advocated for his detention at the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre as they await trial. A move signaling the seriousness of the case.

However, every accused has a right to defense. E. A. Alafin, Bamidele’s defense attorney, promptly stepped in. He informed the court that preparations were already in motion, with a bail application filed and provided to the prosecution. Alafin, advocating fervently for his client, called for reasonable and compassionate bail terms. 

Meanwhile, the prosecutor, intent on thoroughness, expressed the need for ample time to scrutinize the bail application meticulously.

In light of these developments, Justice Akintayo Aluko made a pivotal decision. He earmarked October 5, 2023, as the date for the bail hearing.


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