By Abdallah el-Kurebe
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has warned fraudsters, especially those who have been dropping his name and the Officers and men of the Commission, to fraudulently obtain money from unsuspecting members of the public, to be prepared to face the heat from the Commission.
Magu gave thr warning on Monday, during a meeting with officers and men of the Commission at the EFCC Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.
The EFCC boss also urged the general public to be wary of influence peddlers, warning that the Commission under his watch would continue to do the right thing for a better tomorrow.
“There are people who have been going about, telling people that they are my friends and officials of the Commission, they go about collecting money from suspects, with a promise to influence their cases here, let me make this very clear, I am nobody’s friend.
“When it comes to the job, which is the fight against corruption, I am no one’s friend. We are working hard to make sure such people are arrested, properly prosecuted and punished accordingly”, he said.
Magu gave the warning following the arrest of three suspects, who were alleged to have dropped the name of the Acting Chairman and some senior officers of the Commission, as well as impersonation of operatives of the EFCC, which he noted haf been on the rise in recent times.
Three persons, who are currently in the net of the EFCC, for falsely parading themselves as staff of the Commission and dropping staff names for illicit material gains from unsuspecting members of the public, are Samson Sani, Chinaza Ike and one Kenneth Osita.
Sani, 38, a member of Charted Institute of Forensic and Professionals of Nigeria, CIFIPN, paraded himself as a Course 8 staff of the EFCC and as well as the Head of Forensic Unit of the Commission, a pretence he used to approach members of the public, who have issues in the Commission with promise of assisting them get out of trouble and obtain money from them in the process.
Luck however ran out on Sani when sometime in 2019, he collected N5,000,000 from one Henry Agbo, with a promise to influence the outcome of a criminal matter that concerned him in the Commission and to secure the release of a suspect of interest to him in the custody of the Lagos Office of the EFCC.
In his petition, Agbo said Sani introduced himself as a staff of the EFCC, in the Forensic Directorate and following their discussion, demanded the sum of N20,000,000 from him to kill a matter that concerned him in the EFCC as well as secure the release of a suspect who is of interest to him from the custody of the Lagos Office of the Commission.
The complainant revealed that he negotiated Sani’s price down to N10,000,000 and made advance payment of N5,000,000 cash to him.
According to the complainant, Sani collected the money and neither delivered on his promise nor refunded the money he paid him, prompting him to report the matter to the EFCC, after a long and fruitless wait.
Upon arrest, Sani was caught with a forged identity card that bore features associated with the EFCC, with which he deceives people into believing that he was a bona-fide EFCC detective.
A further check up on Sani revealed that he was equally involved in another fraud against one Dominic Agbo, whom he swindled to the tune of N770,000, on the pretext of helping him to unfreeze a friend’s account that was under investigation by the EFCC.
Similarly, 44-year-old Ike, who is into real estate business and Osita were apprehended by the Commission for name dropping.
Ike had allegedly met Osita and assured that he was a confidant of the Head, EFCC External Corporation, and would exploit his relationship with the officer to help him recover his cut from an oil deal, executed in 2017, between Alkhairi Energy Oil Plus Nigeria, and a Chinese based oil firm, Hum Bo Hai-a deal in which Osita was allegedly played some key roles but was short-changed afterwards.
According to Ike, Osita was introduced to him by a pastor, (whose name he withheld), who appealed to him to use his influence of knowing someone in EFCC, to help Osita recover his share from the oil deal.
Ike latter informed Osita that he knew the EFCC Officer and would address his matter with her, assuring Osita that the Officer would help him get his share from the deal.
But after a long fruitless wait for Ike to deliver, Osita demanded that Ike should lead him to meet the Officer, one to one, so as to get a first hand information from her concerning the issue.
Ike, however, could only reassure him that the Officer has sorted out the issue, and that he would receive his share of the oil deal, soon.
Excited by the new development, Osita visited EFCC’s Head Office to meet the Officer to further discuss the matter with her. The bubble burst when Osita discovered that Ike doesn’t even know the EFCC’s Officer.
Ike was consequently arrested by the Commission, and Osita’s arrest followed.
The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.