After receiving N9million from Austen, Avastone Global Services Limited said it could not sustain its initial offer of a 3-bedroom terrace duplex.
This breach of agreement made Austen find out about the business and, in the end, he realised he might have been defrauded by Pete Okafor, the Chief Executive Officer of Avastone, who is on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s wanted list.
Austen had signed an agreement with Avastone in August 2020. The company was to help him purchase a land and build a 3-bedroom terrace duplex. Having met Avastone through a middleman, they agreed to a plan that would let him make a total payment of N16,125,000 in two years.
Austen made an initial payment of N3million as requested and followed it up with subsequent payments. In one year, he paid N9million.
Trouble began when he visited the purchased land and found that nothing had been done on it. Upon enquiry, Avastone told him the land was being claimed by some persons and that he would get another. Austen agreed and got another piece of land in March.
Construction began on the land and Austen was glad that things were going as planned. However, he received a mail from Avastone on August 19, stating that they were building for him a N25million four-bedroom duplex rather than the three bedrooms in their agreement.
“We write to inform you that there is a change in design (Layout and Floor Plan) and due to the current economic realities, we can no longer sustain the offer on the initial terms. We are currently building a four-bedroom terrace duplex which would amount to N25,000,000 (twenty-five million naira) net sum.”
Austen rejected the offer and asked that Okafor continued with the initial plan or refunded his money. According to Austen, Okafor agreed to refund the money but, rather than do that, he stopped answering his calls and cut all ties with him.
Timi, the middleman through which Austen knew Okafor, told FIJ she was not aware of Okafor’s history before serving as his agent.
“This is not my first real estate deal. I have done a couple of others and I always made sure my clients were satisfied. If I had known that this was Okafor’s history, I would not have got involved,” she said.
Timi also said that there was a WhatsApp group with about 70 people who were also in Austen’s shoes.
“They have different tales of their dealings with Okafor in the past few years,” she said.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) declared Okafor wanted “in a case of criminal breach of trust, cheating and obtaining money under false pretense” in March.
FIJ placed several calls to Okafor’s phone number but they were not answered. He also did not reply to a text message sent to him.
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