Culled from The Punch
The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police has arrested a self-acclaimed billionaire, Chidozie Odogwu, for alleged fraud and impersonation.
According to the police, the suspect pretended to be the son of a business tycoon, Sunny Odogwu, who owns Grand Hotel, Asaba.
The suspect was accused of duping some car rental companies in Lagos State and had also issued dud cheques to many other people.
One of the car rental companies, Greyshades Global Concepts Limited, alleged that the suspect claimed to be an oil magnate and friends with the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola.
The spokesperson for the company, Miss Obiageli, told PUNCH Metro that the 35-year-old suspect introduced himself to her as the Managing Director of Halal Capital, a multi-billion naira company involved in oil business, investment banking and Islamic Capital Markets.
She said the policy of Greyshades Global Concepts was to collect money upfront before renting a car and provide a driver but because of the sort of person the suspect presented himself to be, a vehicle was given to him without payment.
She said, “In November 2012, the suspect was introduced to me by one of my neighbours, Diran Isikaru, who rented the car, a Toyota Rav4, on Chiedozie’s behalf for N20, 000 per day.
“He told me that Chidozie was the son of Sunny Odogwu and that he was into oil and gas business. I gave them the vehicle and after that, I could not get my money from him.”
The victim said she continued to pester Chidozie for her money but he gave several excuses, saying his company was under oil subsidy probe by the Federal Government and told her to exercise some patience.
“The money started to accumulate and the company was making loss. I asked him for the money and sometimes he would tell me to send my bank account number. He would then respond by saying my account number was incorrect or some other time he would say he had only dollars and he could only pay into a domiciliary account,” she said.
Obiageli said a few weeks later, the suspect said he wanted to swap the vehicle for a cheaper one because the RAV4 was too expensive.
She said at the time, the suspect already owed the company over N600, 000.
She said, “In late December, he paid only about $500 (N81,000) instead of the N600, 000 and demanded to be given a smaller car at a cheaper rate because his cheques were taking time to clear in many banks in Lagos. Greyshades promptly made available a Nissan Altima car at the cost of N15, 000 per day.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that as months passed, the suspect continued to default on payment and all attempts to retrieve the vehicle from him proved abortive.
Obiageli said, “In February, Chidozie gave the company a cheque owned by Ibijope Holdings Limited. I asked why Ibijope Holdings but he said he was a director in the company and I should not mind the name written on the cheque.
“To my surprise, when I lodged the cheque in my bank account, it bounced.”
Obiageli, it was learnt, reported the matter at SFU and Isikaru was arrested shortly after.
Investigations revealed that the car had been seized by one Toyin Okeni who claimed that Chidozie owed her money as well.
Police soon discovered that Chidozie was at Charlie’s Place and Suites on Victoria Island, where he had been living for months and was meant to pay N20,000 per day.
The owner of the hotel, one Austen Asianya was shocked when police officers stormed his hotel with a search warrant against his wealthy guest who had been going around with a driver and who always talked about oil businesses.
Police investigations revealed that the website of Halal Capital (www.halalcapital.com.ng) as written in Chidozie’s business card did not exist, while his company’s address (at 8b Fabac Close, Victoria Island), belonged to a company called Lovonus Bureau De Change Limited and not Halal Capital.
The Public Relations Officer, SFU, Ngozi Isintume, told our correspondent that police investigations revealed that the suspect was a serial fraudster and not the son of Sunny Odogwu.
Isintume said, “Chidozie will soon be charged to court for fraud. Isikaru, has, however, been released.”