Suru Homes CEO arraigned for selling property he used as collateral for N1.7bn loan

Chief Executive Officer of Suru Homes Limited, Edward Akinlade, was, on Thursday, arraigned before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly selling his company’s property which he used as collateral for a Fidelity Bank loan.

Chief Executive Officer of Suru Homes Limited, Edward Akinlade. [citypeopleonline]
Chief Executive Officer of Suru Homes Limited, Edward Akinlade. [citypeopleonline]
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akinlade and his company were arraigned on a 10-count charge of stealing and issuance of dud cheques.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred the charges bordering on attempted fraud against the defendants who, however, plead not guilty.

According to EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Temitope Banjo, Akinlade committed the offences sometime in 2017 in Lagos.

“The defendant, with intent to defraud, converted the property, situated at No. 11A, Lawson Adeyemi St., Ikoyi, Lagos, by selling it without the knowledge of the bank and diverting the proceeds of the sale.

“The property was part of a legal mortgage he had used as part of collateral to secure a loan of N1.7 billion from Fidelity Bank Plc,” the prosecutor said.

Banjo said that on Sept. 8, 2017, the defendant issued nine separate dud Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) cheques of N10 million each to Fidelity Bank Plc.

“When the cheques were presented for payment, they were dishonoured on the grounds that no sufficient funds were standing in the credit of the account,” he said.

According to the prosecutor, the offences violate Sections 1(1)(a)(b) and 2 of the Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 2004 and Section 284 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

After the arraignment, the Defence Counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN), said that he only became aware of the charges against Akinlade on Aug. 5.

In response, Pedro said that he had filed a bail application and had just served a copy of the application to EFCC.

Responding, the EFCC prosecutor acknowledged receipt of the bail application and told the court that he needed some time to respond to it.

“My lord, the charges have been filed since 2020 and it was impossible and very difficult to get the defendant arrested until yesterday.

“The Bank Fraud Section of the EFCC had, on several occasions, put calls across to the defendant to no avail.

“He jumped administrative bail and he is being investigated by four sections of the EFCC,” Banjo said.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in a ruling, granted Akinlade bail in the sum of N30 million, with two sureties in like sum.

“One surety shall be a legal practitioner and the second shall be a close relative of the defendant.

“The sureties shall swear to affidavits of means and their home and office addresses shall be verified by the court,” she said.

The case was, thereafter, adjourned till Oct. 11, for trial.

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