A mother has been remanded in prison after her son, Moses Ojo, a cashier of the Eat ‘N’ Go Limited, operating at the company’s Coldstone Creamery branch in Abule Ado, disappeared during his arraignment at a Magistrate’s Court sitting in the Apapa area of the state.
It was gathered that the company suspected that its workers had been carrying out fraudulent transactions by using their accounts to trade with customers.
The company was said to have reported the case to the police and during the investigation, the police arrested Ojo.
Thereafter, the police took Ojo to court and when the case was called for hearing, the Magistrate, during cross-examination of the defendant, discovered that he was in court on the allegation of defrauding the company of N11,000.
Speaking with PUNCH, Ojo’s sister, Nifemi, said the magistrate, during the court proceedings, gave the complainant and the defendant an option to settle the matter out of court.
Nifemi said, “A customer told my brother about having issues with transfer. So, he asked my brother if he had an OPay or Palmpay account. My brother told him he has and the customer begged him if he could transfer to him, but my brother said it was an offence as the company does not allow such.
“The customer pleaded and told him he would wait for him to confirm the transaction which he did. He immediately sent the money to the company and then informed his General Manager who told him he should have called him before doing such as nobody would believe he was trying to help.
“He was later called from the head office and was arrested some hours later and taken to the police station. On Tuesday, my mother went to the station and the DPO advised that she should beg the G.M. and repay the money but the G.M. insisted my brother must go to jail.”
Nifemi said during her brother’s arraignment last Wednesday, things took another turn when their mother was remanded on the allegation that she facilitated her brother’s escape in court.
She said, “My mother called me from the court on Wednesday that she had been handcuffed. She told me that the magistrate said N11, 000 is not a case that she would allow them to go on trial for and allowed them to call the man the company assigned to handle the case, Muritala Ifenaike.
“They called the man on the phone and he said the boy has to go to jail. So, my mum said she followed the magistrate when she left where she was and by the time she returned to the court, her son was nowhere to be found.
“That was how they accused her of aiding my brother’s escape. She said some people said she was caught on a motorcycle trying to escape with her son. When I visited my mum in the prison on Saturday, my mum told me that they asked her to get N50,000 for bail.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the development.
He said, “The boy was arraigned and was kept in the dock to be cross-examined. He was in it when the magistrate asked for his offence and when the magistrate heard it was N11, 000, she was surprised.
“The magistrate instructed the young man, his mother and the complainant to go out of the court and conclude on how the money would be refunded so that she can strike out the case.
“They went out and after some minutes, the complainant came in and said the mother had allowed her son to escape. As a result, the magistrate asked the mother to be detained and asked that extra charges be added for aiding the escape of her son.”
Reacting to the development, spokesperson for the Nigeria Correctional Service in the state, Rotimi Oladokun, said whatever transpired in court was out of the jurisdiction of the service.
“We cannot speak on how someone allowed another person to escape from the court. The police should be able to provide more information on that. If you can send me the name of the mother, I can help you check if she was brought here,” he added.
Meanwhile, the management of the company had in a statement on the development on Saturday, said following an audit and after further internal investigations, some employees of the company were suspected to have committed fraud against the company in one of its stores in Lagos State by allegedly diverting sales proceeds of the company and transferring same into their accounts instead of the company’s account.
“The matter was immediately reported to the police and after further investigation by the police, the authorities took the suspect to court. According to the police, the suspect absconded from the courtroom through the alleged assistance of his mother who has since been charged by the authorities with obstruction of justice,” the statement read in part.