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My Dream was to Become a Millionaire – Stolen vehicle Dealer

Looking very remorseful with shame written all over their faces, it was obvious that these men regret what landed them in police custody.Until few weeks ago when officers in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of Lagos State Police Command arrested them, Lati Ogunleye, 35, and Gbenga Olatunji, 45, were free men, living in comfort and painting the town red with ill-gotten cash.

They drove the cars of their choices, made a lot of money without hard work and lived the kind of life that many of their peers would envy.
Now arrested and cooling off in police custody, they blame no one except themselves for committing the crime they were arrested for.
Ogunleye, married with two daughters, and has OND Certificate in Banking and Finance from the Polytechnic of Ibadan, said he used to be a phone repairer at Computer Village, Ikeja until 2012 when a friend of his, Ismaila, asked if he would be interested in buying a Toyota Camry saloon car 2000 model for just N250,000. Seeing that it was a good offer, he quickly jumped at it, bought the car and sold it for N500,000.
He admitted having a premonition that the car deal was suspicious, but with the kind of gain he made on the vehicle, there was no need asking questions. “I knew there was something shady about the deal but I was fascinated by the gain I made, and I later found out that he stole the vehicle,” he added.
Apparently impressed with his profit in one single deal, his phone repairing business soon became a cover, while he devoted more attention to buying stolen vehicles from his friend and others he met through him while selling them at a higher price. It was not an everyday business, but the gain on each transaction was worth the risk.
Before his arrest, Ogunleye said he had sold six vehicles and made about N2m. Even though he had fears anytime he took delivery of the vehicles, he said he took them home and told his wife he bought them from Cotonou. He sold the cars as tokunbo cars to his friends, whom he said had no idea of where he got them from. “I know it takes risks to become a millionaire. My dream was to become a millionaire so I took the risk but now I have regrets,” he said.
He added, “The cars I bought from them apart from the first one include Toyota Corolla 2004 model, Honda Accord (EOD), Honda baby boy, Toyota RAV 4 and Toyota Highlander. The gain I made on each of the vehicles was between N250,000 and N700,000, depending on the car. I raised about N2m, which I used to travel to South Africa to start a new life.”
Ogunleye travelled to South Africa under the pretext of going to study, but he continued with his phone business when he got there, leaving his wife and children in Nigeria. One day, one of his close friends at Computer Village, Ikeja, Daniel, who also had knowledge of his previous shady business, called and hinted him that the Officer-in-Charge of SARS, Lagos State Police Command, Abba Kyari, was travelling to South Africa for a programme. Unsettled by the information, Ogunleye, who said he thought the commander was coming to look for him, ran away to Soshanguve to hide in the house of a South African girlfriend of his. He said he couldn’t leave his hideout until two weeks later when the same friend called him that Kyari had returned to Nigeria.
“By the time my one-year study permit expired, I returned to Nigeria, and then I was arrested. Since I already exhausted the money I made in South Africa, I thought I could continue, but I was arrested when I got to Nigeria,” he said.
Even though he said his wife never knew about the car business, his two children – four years old and two years old – felt he travelled and that he would return soon, not knowing their father was in police custody.
On his part, Olatunji, who is also married with a 16-year-old child, said he was forced to become a dealer of stolen vehicles after he smuggled four cars and lost them to customs some years ago. He said a friend lured him into the business.
Looking very humble and sad, he tucked his hands in between his legs as he narrated his story to our correspondent.
“One of my friends brought a Toyota Camry 2000 model car to me. It was very cheap, but when I asked him, he said he bought it during an auction exercise in Cotonou. I made N300,000 from that car. But after he sold the second car to me, he was later arrested, so I got to know that he stole the vehicles,” he said.
Having been in the business for about 10 years, he was unperturbed by the arrest of his business partner, Olatunji went looking for another person that could be selling stolen vehicles to him, and he found. Knowing that trouble could be lurking around him, he relocated his wife and child to Ilorin, Kwara State.
“Having known how effortless and sweet it was to make money that way, I looked for another person that could be selling to me and a friend of my other friend that was arrested agreed to be my supplier. Before I was arrested, I sold five vehicles in all and the highest profit I made on a single sale was N500,000 which I made on a Toyota Venza. I bought it for N3m and sold it N3.5m.”
Unlike Ogunleye who sold his cars in Lagos, Olatunji sold all the vehicles he got in the North.
Prior to his arrest, Olatunji had converted one of the stolen cars, a Toyota Camry 2008 model, to personal use, which was what led to his arrest.
Police sources had it that both Ogunleye and Olatunji resorted to sponsoring people to snatch vehicles, and that they had been charged to court already. The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Kenneth Nwosu,promised to reply the message our correspondent sent to him , which he had yet to do as of press time.
Source: Punchnews
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