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Lagos Hotelier, Agbala Remanded In Ikoyi Prison As Alleged N627Million Fraud Scheme Unravels

Daud Olatunji

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the remand of prominent Lagos hotelier Joseph Umezugha, widely known as Agbara, in Ikoyi Prison.

Agbala, the proprietor of De Jessica Hotel, is facing allegations of a staggering N627 million fraud, accused of swindling three businessmen with eerily similar tales of partnership in his hotel venture.

The court, currently presiding over one of the cases with suit number FHC/L/239C/2023, has denied Agbala bail, emphasizing the need to avoid impeding ongoing investigations

The charges against Agbala include the forgery of a Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy, allegedly used to obtain approximately N100 million from one of the victims, Uchechukwu Umeh Elxor.

Another victim, Collins Ogbuji, revealed that Agbala had already secured N185 million from him under similar pretenses related to the hotel.

Contrary to Agbala’s attempts to gain public sympathy, Ogbuji disclosed that the accused hotelier is now facing criminal charges from three distinct law enforcement agencies in separate courts.

Ogbuji accused Agbala of knowingly forging a “Lagos State Certificate of Occupancy” in January 2022, an offense punishable under Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act Cap. M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.

Adding to Agbala’s legal troubles, the Federal High Court has ordered the sealing of De Jessica Hotel, a direct consequence of legal action initiated by one of the victims.

 This development contradicts Agbala’s claims that the closure of the hotel was orchestrated by Mr. Collins or the EFCC, highlighting the unraveling nature of the alleged fraudulent scheme.

 

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