The Anti-Fraud Unit of the Force Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon Close, Lagos, bared its fangs today as it unmasked two men held over N118million fraud.
Sending a strong message to fraudsters, the new Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of the Anti-Fraud Unit, Mr Damian Ikem Okoro, revealed that his men now have what it takes to track all manners of fraudsters operating in the country.
“Those who engage in fraud and fraud-related activities must watch out,” Okoro said. “Those who hack accounts, intercept letters, emails from personal and corporate domains, those who are changing account numbers and addresses should stop forthwith or be arrested. We have the wherewithal, now, to trace and track persons who are into these criminalities.”
He told reporters how a fake army officer was caught after allegedly defrauding a wine importer of N100million. He also revealed how a man who claimed to be a pastor allegedly duped a widow of N18million in a land scam at Ibeju-Lekki.
According to the CP, the wine dealer identified as Mr Obinna Francis was swindled of N100million while he was trying to recover N77million paid to a supplier who failed to deliver the goods.
After several failed attempts over a period, a man who identified himself as a Brigadier-General in the Nigerian Army offered to assist him with the recovery and also get him registered with big companies, but ended up making various monetary demands until the victim could bear it no more.
“It’s just so difficult to run to people for help in Nigeria. If a 58-year-old man who is old enough to be my father can defraud me, I don’t know if there’s any hope for Nigeria,” the victim, Francis, said at the parade of the suspect.
He added, “He has children. He has a wife; he has a community, and he’s a Knight in the Catholic Church – St Timothy Parish, at Ojodu-Berger. And, he can defraud people, even his parishioners.”
The suspect, Okechukwu Ogbonna, however, said he did not dupe Francis but only tried to assist him with his business, register him as a contractor, and help him obtain a license.
When asked what he does for a living, he described himself as a Civil Servant at the Ministry of Defence, Moloney Street. He said that he was in the Department of Estate Management as a Senior Technical Officer.
On the allegation of impersonation as a Brigadier-General, he said that he was never a soldier, but people call him Colonel or Brigadier-General.
The police also paraded the pastor who allegedly duped a widow of N18million in the land scam at Ibeju-Lekki.
The suspect, Peter Ononuju, identified himself as a Prophet at the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Alfa and Omega Parish in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
He allegedly collected N18 million from one Mrs Grace Oluchi for a land that is not his own at Ibeju-Lekki.
Ononuju claimed that the land belonged to his ex-wife and that the woman who he sold it to is his ex-lover.
Okoro said that his officers were alerted when the woman discovered the fraud.