A property agent, Wole Ogunleye, has been taken to a Lagos Magistrates’ Court in Ogba for alleged diversion of N4.240m rent belonging to a landlord, Yisa Bello.
Ogunleye was accused of collecting rent paid for Bello’s properties located on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Beckley Estate.
City Round learnt that Ogunleye collected the sum from the tenants sometime in November 2018, but failed to remit same to the complainant’s account.
It was gathered that Bello contacted the estate manager, one Bello Usman, sometime in January 2019 to know why the rent had not been remitted.
Usman and a lawyer were said to have reached out to some occupants of the properties who disclosed that they had paid their rent to Ogunleye.
The case was consequently reported at the Oko Oba Police Division and the agent was arrested.
Usman told the police that Ogunleye initially denied collecting the rent during a meeting, but later owned up to have used it to solve some problems.
He said, “Mr Ogunleye started working with Alhaji Bello four years ago as a property agent. Alhaji called me sometime in January and told me that Ogunleye had not remitted the rent. Alhaji’s lawyer and I visited the tenants to know what was wrong. But to our surprise, they said they had paid their rent to Ogunleye since November 2018. They also showed us receipts that he gave them.
“After denying for a while, he admitted to have collected the rent. When we asked him to remit the rent, he started giving excuses. The annual rent of the properties he managed for Alhaji is about N5.7m.”
Ogunleye admitted he collected N2.9m rent from the tenants, adding that he planned to remit the money at a meeting that was supposed to hold in January 2019.
Ogunleye stated that he had some challenges which he used the money to address.
He said, “I have known Alhaji Yisa Bello since 2009 when he contracted me to help him do the valuation of some properties. He later asked me to help him look for tenants to occupy his property at U-turn bus stop (around Abule Egba). I currently manage two properties for him.
“Usually whenever I collect rent, I don’t necessarily remit it immediately but I would send messages to Alhaji. I have not remitted the rent in recent times, I booked an appointment with him in January 2019 but he could not make it. The meeting was to discuss the properties and do reconciliation and remittance.
“I collected N2.150m rent for the property on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and collected N750,000 for the one on Beckley Estate. I used the money to sort out some personal issues.”
Ogunleye was charged to court on one count of stealing by the police.
The charge read, “That you, Wole Ogunleye, sometime in November 2018, at 473, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, U-turn bus stop, Abule Egba, in the Ikeja Magisterial District, did steal the sum of N4.240m, being the rent of nine tenants, property of Alhaji Yisa Bello, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 287 (7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and elected summary trial.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs O Sule-Amzat, granted him bail in the sum of N250,000 with two sureties each in the like sum.
The case was adjourned till July 18, 2019 for mention.