Former Nigerian-born England footballer John Fashanu reportedly spent two days in a Nigerian jail pen alongside 200 others after he got himself entangled in an alleged land scam.
According to the report from The Mirror, the 54-year old was held for 48 hours while Nigerian Police officers carried out their investigations on the allegations that he acted as a fixer in a land scam to sell plots that were unavailable for sale.
The former Wimbledon, Norwich City and Aston Villa striker was arrested at his Sun City Estate home in the capital city of Abuja, and taken in on suspicion of “criminal conspiracy” according to detectives.
Fashanu was said to have acted on behalf of a friend looking to buy land. The ‘unnamed’ friend disclosed that he was told by Fashanu about two contacts that would help him buy ‘forgotten lands’, which are plots owned by chiefs that the state didn’t know about.
He was then given the princely sum of £23,000 in cash to seal the land deal only for the find out that the said land was neither for sale nor in the hands of local chiefs when he went to claim it.
Police sources revealed that the former England international was thereafter questioned by a superintendent last week to explain his involvement in the land scam before he was locked up in a densely populated cell.
The 1988 FA Cup winner has agreed to pay the said money back though he is still adamant that he didn’t do anything sinister. His alleged cohorts are still on the run with the police still on their trail.
The former Gladiators presenter was released after his British passport was seized and also agreed to pay back a first instalment of the money.
Speaking on the matter, a close source said: “This is a business deal between friends that has gone south and the police were asked to basically mediate.
“It will all be sorted very quickly. It was just a business deal.” the source added.
It is understood Fashanu was released after surrendering his British passport and agreeing to pay back a first instalment of the money. According to sources, he looked to dispose off some of his cars in bid to raise money while waiting for his several business investments to sail through.
His Nigerian barrister Hyp Egbune confirmed that Fashanu has paid the second instalment of the money. He said: “The matter is being resolved. He won’t be charged to court is my understanding.
“We are repaying the money and that should settle this matter.
“The person who made the complaint has been a mutual friend for quite a number of years and we are more interested in keeping that relationship so we are making amends. We hope to do that as soon as we can. It is quite a lot of money so we hope to do it as soon as we can. We want to have this resolved.” he stated further.
Nigerian police Deputy Inspector General Hyacinth Dagala while confirming the incident said: “John Fashanu was arrested on July 17 in connection with an allegation of criminal conspiracy and obtaining the sum of N9,550,000 [Nigerian Naira] under false pretence.
“He was granted administrative bail on July 18 but because of his inability to produce the requisite surety on that day, he remained in detention until July 19 when he was released.” he concluded.
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“They’re definitely begging now. He’s trying to reach out all of a sudden,”