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25.03.2024 Explainer Accessory Olawale Orowole’s Baseless Complaints Over Fraudulently Obtained £3,000 CoS Payment

Published 25th Mar, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu

On Sunday evening, Olawale Orowole, a Nigerian living in the UK, claimed on X (formerly Twitter) that FIJ misrepresented him in an earlier report.

In his post, he said Stephen Orowole, his cousin, entered into an agreement with Lukmon Fasasi, another Nigerian in the UK, and then used his account to receive £3,000 initial payment for a certificate of sponsorship (CoS).

In the original story, FIJ had presented Fasasi as Dolapo Sonibare, following his request to be anonymous. but since he has now been stripped open by Olawale, we will refer to him as Lukmon henceforth, for clarity.

Olawale said FIJ failed to contact him before detailing his role in the scheme after Stephen failed to provide Lukmon’s CoS or refund the money. In his tweets, he made numerous false claims, namely that FIJ labelled him a scammer, that FIJ had been cyberbullying him for over a month, that FIJ published an inaccurate story to malign his person.

These claims do not in any way represent what transpired.

THE STORY

In January 2024, Lukmon called Stephen to ask for help as his visa was expiring in April 2024. Stephen told him he knew an agency that could help with the CoS.

He also said he knew one of the agency’s agents whose name was Olawale. Stephen then forwarded messages from chats he had with this Olawale to Lukmon, and part of the forwarded chats included a full name and account number. This full name was Olawale Orowole.

READ MORE: 2 Nigerian Cousins Refuse to Refund £3,000 to UK Student After Failing to Get Him CoS

What Stephen did not tell Lukmon at the time was that the six chats he forwarded to him were from two conversations: two chats were from John Olawale, while the other four were from Olawale Orowole. This misled Lukmon into thinking that there was only other Olawale, that is Olawale Orowole. Lukmon did not know that there were two others: Olawale Orowole and John Olawale.

Stephen’s messages to Sonibare. First two forwarded messages were from John OIawale, while other four were from Olawale Orowole

On February 7 and 9, Lukmon made payments totalling £3,000 to the account that Stephen said belonged to his cousin in the UK. After this payment, Stephen sent him a UK number belonging to Olawale. Although believed he was transacting with Stephen’s cousin Olawale, he was indeed transacting with John.

Olawale would later confirm to FIJ that he transferred £2,000 to John at Stephen’s instance, and held £1,000 for his cousin.

When Lukmon contacted FIJ, he provided the contacts of Stephen, John (whom he believed to be Olawale Orowole at the time) and Zidaan Consultancy, the agency that John claimed to be affiliated with. FIJ called each of them.

John never responded to FIJ’s questions, but Stephen confirmed the details. Stephen claimed the money had been paid to Zidaan, hence it could not be refunded. When FIJ then contacted Zidaan, the agency’s founder’s mother responded, saying her son received no such payment as he was ill at the time.

FALSE CLAIM 1

After the story was published, Olawale Orowole called FIJ to say they did not contact him. When FIJ relayed the number we contacted, he said the number did not belong to him.

FIJ then had a three-way call with Stephen and Olawale. It was during this call that Stephen confirmed he failed to clarify to Lukmon that there were two other Olawales.

Why didn’t Olawale acknowledge in his thread on X that his uncle Stephen deceived Lukmon into believing John was the only other Olawale, and that FIJ had indeed called John?

FIJ also spoke with Lukmon, who said Stephen’s cousin had reached him as well to say he was not affiliated with Zidaan but only provided his account to help receive the money without asking what it was for.

Olawale, on realising Stephen’s scheme to keep some of the money, told Lukmon to reach out to everyone he had told the story “or else I’m not sending you a dime”.

Olawale Orowole’s messages to Sonibare

FALSE CLAIM 2

Olawale said FIJ labelled him a scammer, but this is false. Nowhere in the original story did FIJ label him one.

FIJ stuck to the facts of the matter: that Olawale did not refund the money that was paid into his account. If anyone interpreted that as Olawale being a scammer, FIJ cannot be blamed. Olawale received money in his account on Stephen’s behalf; we wrote that. He did not refund the money; we also wrote that. We ourselves never gave his actions any interpretation.

But the deal by Stephen himself is fraudulent: he obtained money but did not use his account; the agency he claimed to have forwarded the money to has denied receiving it; he presented Olawale and John to Lukmon as just one person; and he hasn’t made a full refund despite not getting the CoS.

FALSE CLAIM 3

Olawale claimed that FIJ published an inaccurate story to malign his person. Again, this is untrue.

Days after the report was published, when Olawale called FIJ to state his involvement as the third participant in the saga, FIJ updated its report, stating his involvement as well as John’s. This update is proof that FIJ was not out to malign anyone; not calling him earlier was simply because his uncle Stephen deceived everyone else into thinking he did not exist!

Olawale’s first call came on March 5, and after that call, FIJ spoke with Stephen and Lukmon. On March 11, FIJ updated this report with new facts, and informed Olawale during a subsequent call.

FALSE CLAIM 4

Olawale wrote: “This Cyber bullying has been going on for like a month now.”

However, other than publishing a news report — not an investigation as he would have many believe — on the withheld payment, FIJ has not made any other publication until today, in response to this thread.

THREATS OF A LAWSUIT

FIJ fully welcomes calls for Olawale to institute legal action against all concerned, knowing there is no court in the world where he would win. Whether he was part of Stephen’s scheme or not, a fact even he has not denied is that the money was paid into his account. And when it became clear that the money was fraudulently obtained, at no point did he make a report to his bank or the police. At no point did he contact the authorities to dissociate himself from Stephen. Also, in his lengthy thread on X, not once did he call Stephen by his full name, and not once did he reprimand him for his actions. Instead, Olawale overlooked the perpetrator and went after the victim and the newspaper.

Again, not only did he receive funds, he also transferred £1000 to Lukmon on March 3, hours after FIJ ran the story (This payment, by the way, is the only one that has been directly brought to FIJ’s notice by any of the parties). How could Olawale receive and also transfer funds from a fraudulent deal and not expect to suffer any form of vicarious liability? It appears he has no idea what it means to be an accessory to a crime; perhaps he will find out in court by himself, of his own volition.

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Published 25th Mar, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu

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