A lawyer identified as Mrs Uloma Ulo, on Tuesday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court, that a prophetess allegedly defrauded her of N134 million and left her with problem of debt.
Ulo, being led in evidence by Mr Frank Ofoma, the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the trial of Mhabi-Praise for fraud, said she met the prophetess through one Sandra Mbujakero, a friend of hers.
She noted that Mbujakero said that the defendant was her pastor and that she had done some business deals with the defendant and her company.
Explaining to the court, she said, “I met Linda Mhabi-Praise formally in October 2015 and in the course of discussion, she told me that she was into oil business and she needed investors.
“After discussions, I gave her N6 million in October 2015 and she made it clear that all investors would get a return investment.
“Between October and December, I got a return of between N520, 000 and N750, 000,” she said.
Ulo said that she gave Mhabi-Praise a total of N38 million and was to receive a return of investment of N2.8 million monthly.
She alleged that the defendant approached her again in April 2017 to reinvest in the business.
“I asked her to approach her bank for a loan but she said she does not have any collateral.
”I asked if she had a Local Purchase Order (LPO) to give her bank, she said the bank needed more than LPO.
“She convinced me to get her some money. I approached my bank and got her a loan of N100 million. I added the money to what I had and gave her N134 million.
“After I gave her the money, she vanished. She had made it clear to me that whoever invests with her will leave the money for three months.”
The witness said that she travelled abroad for four months and during that time, she told the defendant to “roll-over” her return on investment because she wanted her money by the end of November 2017.
“When I got back in October 2017, I made several attempts to see her. I made calls which were never returned.
”I finally met her at Ikoyi Club Lagos and she told me that the money went missing. I asked how the money went missing and as I stand here, she hasn’t told me,” Ulo said.
The lawyer told the court that following her failure to retrieve her money, she petitioned the EFCC in November 2017 and it was revealed by the anti-graft commission that Mhabi-Praise was an alleged serial fraudster.
The EFCC charged Mhabi-Praise, Prophetess of Temple of Praise Church, Adeniran Ogunsanya St., Surulere Lagos, and her company Mutano Energy Ltd., with eight counts of stealing, obtaining money by false pretenses and issuance of dud cheques.
The offence, the EFCC said, contravenes the provisions of sections 1(1), 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act and Sections 258(1)(9) and 278(1)(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
Justice Sherifat Solebo adjourned the case until May 9 for continuation of testimony.