EFCC is prosecuting Peter Nwogu for the alleged crime.
A pastor, Peter Nwogu, placed false property ads on some papers, and came with police escorts for the consummation of the fraudulent transaction, a witness told an Ikeja High Court on Thursday.
The witness also told the court how four of her clients, including renowned audit firm, Akintola Willians Delliote, and Associated Press, fell for the scam.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday began the trial Mr. Nwogu for allegedly duping the accommodation seekers of N52.3 million.
The 52-year-old accused is being prosecuted before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of an Ikeja High Court.
The commission, had on March 18, arraigned Mr. Nwogu for the alleged offence and he was remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
During Thursday’s proceedings, the EFCC counsel, Olubunmi Bosede, called three witnesses to testify against the accused.
Testifying, Vivian Obinabo, an estate surveyor and valuer, told the court how the accused defrauded her clients between July and August 2013 in Lagos.
Mrs. Obinabo said Mr. Nwogu placed advertisements for lease of property on some national newspapers using his outfits, Christian Defence Fellowship and Business Defence Solutions Limited.
She said the accused posed as the owner of the property situated at No.6 Gerrard Road and No.6 Olawale Dawodu St., both in Ikoyi.
Mrs. Obinabo said: “The accused scheduled a meeting between us and came with a convoy of mobile policemen.
“My clients, which included Manuchar Trading Company Ltd., Sony Flying Dove Ltd., Akintola Williams Delliote and Associated Press inspected the property.
“They expressed interest and demanded for a copy of the tenancy agreement before making payments,” she said.
According to her, Mr. Nwogu obtained a total of N52.3 million from her clients as payments for rent and other sundry charges.
The witness said it was after the payments that she discovered that the accused was not the owner of both property.
She said this prompted her to petition the EFCC which eventually led to his arrest.
Also testifying, Titus Olatunbosun, Property Manager, CSM Realtors, confirmed that his firm was the owner of the property allegedly used by Mr. Nwogu to defraud his victims.
Mr. Olatunbosun said the property was a block of apartments located at No.6 Olawale Dawodu St., in Ikoyi which was under renovation at the time of the incident.
In his testimony, Kehinde Ogundehin, Assistant Marketing Manager, YM Construction Ltd., said his company owned the other property used by Mr. Nwogu for the scam.
Mr. Ogundehin said the property was a high-rise building located at No.6 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi and was under construction by his company.
The witnesses insisted that their firms did not authorised the accused or any other person to lease or sell the said property on their behalf.
The matter was adjourned till June 2 for continuation of trial.