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Travel agent docked for collecting N1.4m under false pretence

By Joshua Olalekan, Lagos
A travel agent, John Ebuka, who allegedly collected N1.4 million from two clergymen under false pretence was on Friday arraigned at an Ogudu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.
Ebuka, 37, of Gbagada, Phase 11 in Lagos Sate is facing a two-count charge of obtaining by false pretence and stealing.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Ihiehie Lucky, told the court that the accused collected the money for the purpose of getting flight tickets to the U.S. for the clergymen.
He said that the offence was committed in February, 2016, at Gbagada, Lagos state and that the matter was reported at Ogudu Police Station.
Ihiehie said the complainant came with a written petition that in February, 2016, he wanted to procure a travelling ticket to the U.S. for his family for summer vacation.
He said that a church member introduced the complainant to the accused as a friend and travel agent, and that based on a strong recommendation, he negotiated with him.
“He contracted Ebuka to arrange and book six tickets for his family and additional two tickets for his friend, who is also a clergyman billed to travel in May, 2016.
“Ebuka charged N960, 000 for the Reverends’ six tickets and N480, 000 for two tickets belonging to the other Reverend and a family member, all totalling N1, 440, 000. Ebuka promised to deliver theses tickets in a matter of days but it has taken months and he is yet to meet his own part of the bargain as agreed,’’ he told the court.
Ihiehie said that on the request of the accused, the complainant paid him N500, 000 in cash at FCMB, Ogudu branch, and transferred the balance of N940, 000 to his account at ECO Bank in four separate installments.
“In spite of all these payments, the accused is yet to deliver the said tickets to the Reverend. Instead, when he realized that the other Reverend’s trip was around the corner, he issued him Turkey airline tickets, which was later discovered to be fake,’’ he said.
The prosecutor told the court that the accused travelled to China for two weeks and after a month of his return, promised to refund the money but all to no avail.
He said that the offences committed contravened Sections 312 and 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty.
The Magistrate, Mrs O. Sule-Amzat, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties whose address must be verified.
Amzat ordered that the sureties must deposit of N50, 000 each into the Chief Registrar’s account in the bank.
The case was adjourned till Feb. 22.

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