A legal battle has emanated from the resale of one of the vehicles recently auctioned by the NewrestASL Catering Services at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, as one of the beneficiaries of the exercise allegedly defrauded one of the buyers of the vehicle.
The Company had in December 2020 auctioned six vehicles; two Toyota Corolla, one Toyota Camry, one Toyota Hillux Pickup Van, one Water Bowser and one Toyota Hiace Mini Bus to its staff.
One of the staffers, Mr. Joshua Onoja won three of the vehicles; Toyota Hillux Pickup Van, Water Bowser and Toyota Hiace Mini Bus at N750, 000, N700, 000 and N800, 000, respectively.
However, trouble began when Onoja decided to resell some of the vehicles he won through the exercise to multiple clients.
A source close to the Company speaking on anonymity said that Onoja resold the Water Bowser, which he bought at N700, 000 at N1.8 million, while he equally resold the Toyota Hiace Mini Bus, which he bought from the auction exercise at N800, 000 to one Mr. Olalekan Akingbade at the sum of N1, 960,000.
However, another client whose name could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report, purportedly paid Onoja the sum of N4 million for the same bus, a development, which didn’t go down well with Akingbade who claimed to have sold his parcel of land to pay for the bus.
It was gathered that when Akingbade demanded for the bus, Onoja promised to refund him the sum he paid for the bus, but he declined to collect the money from him.
Immediately, Akingbade filed a petition against Onoja at the office of the Commissioner of Police, Airport Command and copied Managing Director NewrestASL through his solicitor, ‘M.A Salawu & Co’ to report the development to them.
The petition to the Commissioner of Police, dated January 15, 2021 and signed by Akingbade, accused Onoja of defrauding him the sum of N1, 960,000 for a bus, which was never handed over to him.
The petitioner added: “As a result, on December 24, 2020, I bought a Toyota Hiace Hummer Bus among the ASL used vehicles from Mr. Onoja and he gave me his account number domiciled in Access Bank. I paid one million, nine hundred and sixty thousand naira. I asked him for the vehicle particulars, but he told me to come back the following day.
“However, upon my visit to retrieve my vehicle, he told me that the Nigerian Customs has seized the vehicle. All efforts I have made to recover either my vehicle or my money have not been successful as Mr. Joshua Onoja remains evasive.”
Another letter dated January 19, 2021 from the solicitor of Akingbade, ‘M.A. Salawu & Co’s and signed by E.M. Bankole, to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Airport, dated January 21, 2021, accused Onoja of defrauding its client after the payment of the agreed sum of N1, 950, 000.
The Law Firm said that the fraudulent and lawless act of the suspect were criminal offences punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 314 and 168(1)(d) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
However, rather than for Onoja to release the 18-seater bus to Akingbade, he sued him through his legal Firm, ‘Integrity Partners,’ demanding for an apology and reparation of N1.5 million.
The Firm insisted that the deal was inconclusive due to the sale and delivery of the same vehicle to a prior bidder.
According to the Complainant’s solicitors, a prior bidder had paid for the vehicle long before Akingbade paid an advanced payment for the same vehicle, yet, Onoja went ahead to collect another sum of N1,960,000 from Akingbade.
The petition stated that Onoja had requested Akingbade to forward his account details to him for the refund of the money paid into his account.
Rather, the Onoja’s Solicitor accused Akingbade of threatening to deal with its client and accused him of submitting a trumped-up allegation to the Airport Command of the Nigeria Police, culminated in the procurement of legal services and ancillary cost up to N1.5 million.
Therefore, the Law Firm charged Akingbade to repay the N1.5 million as reparation for the cost within 14 days and threatened to commence legal proceedings against Akingbade in the court if the sum was not repaid within the period.