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Woman changes story in court, says Nigerian man never conned her Sh31m

A woman who transferred Sh31 million to her Nigerian lover’s bank account and later accused him of fraud was on Friday at pains to explain circumstances surrounding the transactions and her relationship with him.

In a partly virtual proceedings, Bella Osalla Bonslavia told the court she had been advancing loans to Nigerian businessman Edwin Okoye who was her “friend” then.

Okoye was charged at the Kibera law courts with obtaining the money from Bonslavia by false pretences on diverse dates between December 18, 2017 and May 14, 2019 by falsely pretending he had a business to fund.

However, Okoye’s lawyer said Bonslavia’s text messages to Okoye bordered on romance and sought Bonslavia’s clarification that she did not instigate the claims after Okoye maintained he is a Christian, married and not ready to have a love affair with her.

She admitted to the court that she was going out with Okoye and enjoyed it but maintained that they had already agreed to be “friends only” after the first night.

Prosecution counsel Allan Mogere also sought a clarification on the same issue.

“When we met a day after he came to Kenya, he told me he was getting married soon to a Kenyan woman and he did.  We agreed to be friends and set boundaries very early because we know we are humans,” she said.

“He had told me he has a wonderful and beautiful wife. But we used to hang out together and I enjoyed it,” she said.

But in one of the text messages read during court the proceedings, Bonslavia expressed her regret that she and Okoye were never going to spend their lives together.

In another text message, she told Okoye “My little offer still stands” before transferring Sh5 million from her account at Equity Bank to his.

But Bonslavia maintained that this text was continuation of an earlier conversation the two had had regarding his business that was still stuck, adding that they were just friends and the money was a loan.

She said Okoye had told her that he runs a telecommunications devices company – Future Phones – and was introducing some gadgets to the Kenyan market.

But his supposed business partners in the UK, who were to jointly invest with him, had not sent him money.

She claimed Okoye had told her that he was going to put Sh100 million in the deal before she loaned him the money.

She deposited Sh5 million in a bank account belonging to his Future Phones company on December 18, 2017 to start off his business, a few days after they met at a bar in Kilimani.

“We had agreed I would loan him the money and he was to pay me after the investors bring in money. On January 2, 2019, he told me he needed money because it was a festivities season and he did not have money. He requested for Sh8 million,” Bonslavia said, confirming she sent him the cash.

Both Okoye’s lawyer and prosecution counsel sought to know whether Bonslavia attempted to get details of the directors of the firm but she said she trusted Okoye and did not want to go behind his back and find out because “he was good and sounded legit”.

She told the court she started demanding the money and Okoye undertook to pay her back by end of May 2019.

Bonslavia later reported Okoye to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations last year and Okoye was arrested and charged.

The hearing continues on June 11.