Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Princewill Maduka, has petitioned the Chief of Air Staff over a failed N30 million property deal with Group Capt. Peter Uzezi attached to the Nigeria Air Force Base, Minna, Niger State.
Maduka pleaded with the CAS to investigate and prosecute Uzezi for “financial crime against us and our client,” adding that he was compelled to present his case to the military authorities because the police investigation into the fraud was not progressing.
Maduka in the petition dated October 15, 2015 alleged that Uzezi collected the N30m from his client, Batholomew Onuh and refused to hand over the property but allegedly sold the building to another person without refunding his client’s money.
The petition said that Onuh had approached Uzezi in August 2014 for the purchase of the 4-bedroomed semi-detached duplex at No. 9, 7th avenue, A Close, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja which the captain acquired from the Federal Housing Authority through his company, Arraiva Nig. Ltd.
The petitioner further stated that he and Onuh met one Chris Daniel, who had the mandate to sell the property on Uzezi’s behalf, adding that they got all the necessary documents from him and conducted a search at the estate department of the FHA Abuja and found no encumbrances to the property title.
The lawyer explained that he and his client visited the duplex after series of telephone conversations with the captain, adding that they visited the house about eight times before making payment.
The petition stated that Onuh requested for the account detail for the transaction and Daniel sent a Zenith Bank account number, 10031426740 belonging to one John Obaikan.
The petition partly reads, “He (Daniel) explained to us that Arraiva Nig. Ltd. and Uzezi’s accounts are all in the same bank and were in debit and that the account supplied is that of a close relative of Uzezi.
“In the afternoon of September 8,2014, at about 2.30pm, our client made a lodgment of N30m into Obaikan’s Zenith bank account and they got credit alert the next day. At 3.30pm, Daniel called me that Uzezi had confirmed he just got credit alert for payment.
“Daniel called us back that Uzezi directed that we should meet at the house between 4.30pm and 5.30pm so that he can hand over the remaining receipts accompanying the allocation letter because we kept the original allocation letter. We arrived at the premises at 4.30pm and we started calling all their numbers and their phones were switched off.”
Maduka stated that he suspected fraud when he visited Daniel’s office at Anon Plaza, Gudu,Abuja, the next day and it was shut down and his number was still switched off.
Maduka said that using their contacts in Zenith Bank, he discovered that within 30 minutes of making the lodgment, N29.5m was transferred to Abdullahi Kabiru Zenith Bank account number, 2082514967, out of which N29.2m was transferred to Tuge bureau de change Zenith Bank account while N.3m was transferred to Emprotame Resources Ltd., bank account in Guaranty Trust Bank owned by one Emmanuel Ameh.
When contacted over the transaction, the branch manager, Zenith Bank, Maitama branch, Abuja, Chuks Ekpunobi, declined to comment, saying the matter was under investigation, adding, “I am not permitted to talk to the media; You should write to the bank for full details of the matter because they have the dossier on it.”
Abdullahi whose bank account was used to transfer the money, denied involvement in the transaction, saying he is available for interrogation by security agencies.
Uzezi and Daniel could not be reached for comment as repeated calls to their lines between on Monday indicated that they were switched off. They also did not respond to a text message sent to them.
The NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said he was not aware of Maduka’s petition, but assured that his complaint would be investigated.