November 15, 2011
Two suspects held in alleged fraud against ex-governors
How did four suspects, including a lawmaker, pull off a N3 billion fraud against a former Central Bank Governor and two former governors?
This is the puzzle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to resolve.
The other victims of the syndicate are a Senator, a top official of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and a member of a state House of Assembly.
The two former governors are from the Northeast.
Two of the suspects have been detained by the EFCC. Another suspect, a member of the House of Representatives, has been invited for questioning.
But the fourth suspect, who was recently seen in Gombe State, is said to be on the run.
The anti-graft commission yesterday invited the House member for interrogation over his alleged role in the fraud.
The House member may face a five-man panel of the EFCC this week.
The Nation learnt that all the highly-placed persons became victims of the Advance Fee Fraud perpetrated by the syndicate between 2007 and 2011.
It was gathered that the top official of the FCTA, who lost a hefty sum of money to the fraudsters, blew the lid off the scam by alerting the EFCC.
The arrest of two of the suspects led to more revelations on those they had defrauded.
An EFCC source said: “We have conducted preliminary investigation, which was personally co-ordinated by the chairman of the commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri.
“The two suspects in detention confessed to have extorted over N3billion from their victims.
“One of the suspects revealed other instances where members of his syndicate defrauded other unsuspecting members of the public.
“He listed the names of their victims to include a former CBN Governor, two ex-governors, a Senator, a member of a state House of Assembly and an official of the FCDA.
“One of the members of the syndicate, who was part of the conspiracy that was successfully carried out on a former governor from the Northeast in 2007, is now a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) because he is now a member of the House of Representatives.
“It is evident that the two suspects in detention belong to a syndicate of fraudsters who have been duping unsuspecting members of the public for quite some time.
“It is believed that if they are made to face justice, it will go a long way in ridding the polity of such miscreants as well as serve as deterrent to others.
“This is necessary because the confession by the second suspect has indicted the member of the House of Representatives.”
The source added: “We have invited the lawmaker for interaction on our preliminary findings.
“He is expected to appear before a team on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
When contacted on Monday, EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi, in a terse sms reply to our enquiry on the report agreed that the Commission is investigating some “OBT cases but I will need time to crosscheck and confirm the details of the particular case you referred to”.
Source: THENATION/ By Yusuf Alli,