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Varsity lecturer docked over alleged N1.3m fraud

A lecturer with the Department of Economics, Plateau State University, Usman Awatai, on Monday, appeared before a Jos Magistrate’s Court charged with defrauding a business man of N1.3 million.

Awatai was alleged to have falsely presented himself as a property owner and collected N1.3 million from one Aliyu Musa, as rent for a shop located at Ahmadu Bello Way, Jos.

According to Mr S. B. Hama, counsel to the complainant, the lecturer convinced Musa that he was the owner of the shop and asked that payment be made to him directly.

“My client initially paid N800,000 as first installment to cover two years – 2014 and 2015 – while another N500,000 was paid for 2016.

“The complainant paid the money to the accused and continued with his business without a hitch.

“But in October 2016, the real owner of the shop, one Emmanuel Gowon, appeared and threatened to eject the complainant from the shop, if the rents were not paid immediately.

“When my client told Gowon that he had made payment to the accused (Awatai), he (Gowon) denied knowing the accused.

“Musa made several attempts to look for the accused, but he stopped picking phone calls and totally avoided the complainant,” the counsel further told the court.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, while his counsel, H.A Dashe, pleaded for his bail on self recognition.

Magistrate Yahaya Mohammed granted Awatai bail on self-recognition, but collected a copy of his Identity Card.

The matter was thereafter adjourned until July 27, for further hearing. (NAN)

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