John Fashanu was left in a Nigerian jail pen with 200 others after being held over an alleged dodgy land deal, police have revealed. The former Wimbledon and England star spent two days locked up as officers investigated claims he acted as a fixer in a scam to sell plots that were not for sale.
He was arrested at his home on the Sun City Estate, in the capital Abuja, and taken in on suspicion of “criminal conspiracy”, detectives said. It is alleged that earlier this year the former I’m a Celeb favourite acted for a friend looking to buy land.
pal claims he was told by Fashanu, 54, of two contacts who would help with buying “forgotten lands” – plots owned by chiefs that the state were unaware of. He was allegedly given £23,000 in cash to fix the deal with his “boys”.
But when the new “owner” went to claim his land, it is alleged he found it not for sale and not in the hands of local chiefs. Fash was taken before a superintendent last week to explain himself before being left in a packed pen, police sources said.
Officers are now looking for the other two men said to be involved. Fashanu has agreed to pay the money back, although he denies wrongdoing. It is understood Fashanu was released after surrendering his British passport and agreeing to pay back a first instalment of the money.
Sources said he looked to sell some of his cars to raise the cash as he waited for funds from his numerous business interests to clear in his bank account. His barrister, Hyp Egbune, confirmed he had this week paid a second instalment of the money owed.
Nigerian police Deputy Inspector General Hyacinth Dagala said: “John Fashanu was arrested on July 17 in connection with an allegation of criminal conspiracy and obtaining the sum of N9,550,000 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.”