A house developer in Lagos has allegedly swindled over 100 prospective tenants to the tune of N51,750, 000, a sum paid by the victims for apartments in a building at 53, Obayan street, Akoka, Lagos.
The developer, who was identified as Tunde Adewale, (alias Alhaji Adewale) by the victims, was said to have collected rent in varying sums from the victims assuring them that they would move into the house by December.
Confusion, however, ensued when some of the prospective tenants went to the building on December 8, and met other tenants cleaning the apartments and said that they had paid for it.
“This attracted the attention of other people nearby, including those who also paid for apartments in the same building,” PREMIUM TIMES’ source said.
The victims, who reported the matter to the Akoka Leaders of Thoughts (ALOT), said they paid for different apartments including miniflats and self-contained apartments in the same building.
In a document obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, 113 victims were listed to have been defrauded by the developer. The victims paid varying sums between N200,000 and N700,000, with a cumulative total of N51,750, 000.
A leader of ALOT, who did not want to be named for security reasons, said the developer collected the rent from the victims when the house was under renovation, with the promise that they would move in when the renovation is completed before the end of the year.
The source said the Akoka leaders group escalated the matter to relevant government agencies, including the police.
One of the victims, Bayo Aina, who paid N700,000 for a miniflat in the building, said he was introduced to the developer by another agent.
“I paid on September 23, I went there before that day and asked him whether he truly wanted to rent out the place, he said yes. He called me himself the next day that if I am serious, I should make payment.
“He said he will hand over the property by December, before Christmas. I said why can’t it be November, but he said I should calm down, by December,” Mr Aina said.
Mr Aina said he made a transfer into an account provided by the developer, Mr Adewale, and was issued a receipt by his younger brother.
Another victim, Kalu John, told PREMIUM TIMES that he paid N350,000 for a self-contained apartment, only to find out last Tuesday that several persons paid for the same apartment.
“Some people we met there have collected the keys and moved in. They are counting themselves as the lucky ones that they are fortunate to collect keys, when the thing affected over 150 people and 11 people moved in,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the victims all presented receipts carrying the name and phone numbers of the developer, ‘Adewal Enterprise’.
When PREMIUM TIMES dialed the numbers of the developer, both were switched off. The developer is said to be on the run after giving the keys of the property to some of the tenants.
Mr John said the matter was reported to the Bariga Police Division and the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
When PREMIUM TIMES contact Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Lagos police spokesperson, he said he would make findings and respond accordingly.
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