By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent/
LAGOS- CRACK Police detectives attached to the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja have tracked and arrested a serial fraudster who defrauded a Lagos business woman the sum of N4.5m in a witchdoctor’s shrine somewhere in Abudu in Edo State. The suspect identified as Solomon Fregene, 49 and father of five sources said, was in the habit of posing as auto dealer with a shop somewhere in Igando, sells people’s cars and thereafter, abscond with their money to unknown destination. He is notorious to have sold so many people’s cars and disappeared with the money but however, met his waterloo recently after selling a Toyoto Yaris car belonging to a Lagos based business woman identified as Cynthia Osagie and similarly fled to Edo state only for Police detectives to track him down to a native doctor’s shrine somewhere in Abudu where he was being fortified against the owner of the car remembering her vehicle and asking for her money and of course, any form of Police arrest and captured. Speaking to the Guardian on Saturday, the suspect said he had been in the business for the past six years adding that he had only defrauded three persons and made only N12.5m as proceeds from the sale of people’s vehicles. He noted that the recent one that has put him in the trouble was because he owed his partner the sum of N2m stressing that the sale of the vehicle in question was paid into his creditor’s account.
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According to him, “Sometime in February 2023, a lady by name Cynthia Osagie brought her Toyota Yaris to our sales point in Igando to be sold. She asked me to sell it for N4.5m but the amount people were willing to pay was far below the price she put on the car. But eventually, the car was sold for N3.4 million naira and my creditor quickly deducted his N2 million naira I had borrowed from him and transferred N1.100m to me. When the woman asked about her vehicle, I lied that I hadn’t sold it because I had other businesses in Benin where I thought I could make up her money and send to her but unfortunately, the business didn’t work and in the meantime, I started using the money in my possession for transportation and other family issues. When it became known that she was aware that I had sold the car I had to relocate to Edo State with a view to doing other businesses and repay her. But because of the harsh economic reality, business was no longer viable and I was moving from one point to another looking for scrap trucks to buy and sell before I was called that Policemen were looking for me. I came out and I was arrested and moved to Lagos.”
continuing, he added, “To be honest, I didn’t have the intension of defrauding her even though I had done similar thing in the past, it was because the money was paid into my partner and creditor’s account and the a larger chunk of the money was deducted hence the present problem. If the Police will allow me go, I promise within a month and one week, I will hustle and repay her back”
The Lagos state Police public relations officer, SP Ben Hundeyin who reacted to the arrest said Solomon Fregene was a notorious fraudster who sells people’s cars and absconds with their money, goes to native doctors to do jazz against the owners remembering that they gave him vehicles to sell and comes back to Lagos his business base to start looking for his next victim. He added that his arrest was based on a petition by the victim sometime in March adding that Solomon had already relocated to Benin as usual and was in the shrine of his native doctor doing his normal deal against the owner of the vehicle when Police detectives stormed the shrines and had him captured.
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