…Police arrest businessman over alleged N816m fraud***
Eight suspects are presently in the Police net at the Police Command in Edo for alleged attempted fraud, the newsmen report.
The suspects, according to SP Chidi Nwabuzor, command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), while briefing News men on Tuesday, were arrested for allegedly attempting to defraud the Federal Government to the tune of 2 billion dollars.
He also said that the arrest was a sequel to a complaint received by the crack team of the command on April 25, via a petition from one High Chief Richard David, a representative of Okpella community, in Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state.
He explained that the suspects had on July 14, 2021, appeared before the complainant and his kinsmen and told them, that they had secured an approval from the Federal Government, through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to evacuate scrap bore-hole pipes equipment worth 2 billion dollars.
“The said equipment was meant for the Okpella water project by the Federal Government under the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
“The community people who were apprehensive wisely disallowed the evacuation of the items.
“This action by the Okpella people however prompted one of the suspects to go to the Okpella police station to report that the community refused them to evacuate the items.
“During the investigation, the police uncovered the fact of the matter through the confession of one of the suspects, who is a staff of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Abuja.
“The said suspect also agreed to have forged the presidency approval for auctioneer documents for the operation.
“Investigation has been concluded and the suspects would soon be charged to court”, Nwabuzor said.
The PPRO, however, noted that the successful arrest of the suspects was due the operational input of CP Abutu Yaro, the Edo Commissioner for Police who had created operations department annexes to bring police visibility to communities and grassroots.
He added that this had shown that the CP knew vast in operational orders in the area of policing.
He appealed to residents of the state to help the command by giving information on suspected criminals and criminal activities by “saying something when they see something”.
Meanwhile, one of the suspects, a staff of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, and a Principal Administrative Officer told newsmen that he was the sole originator of the fake document.
According to him, “I am the sole originator of the fake document that was claimed to have originated from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
“The plan was a collaborative job between myself and staff of IREK Engineering LTD, a company based here in Benin.
“I personally got the letter from the wrong side as the documents which were addressed to the Edo Governor, the Commissioner of Police in Edo as well as all relevant security agencies were forged.”
He disclosed that the only money he had gotten for his effort in the whole process was N500,000 as a token of appreciation.
In the same vein, the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos, has arrested a businessman, Moses Odeleye, for alleged N816 million fraud.
The Spokesperson for the Unit, SP Eyitayo Johnson, confirmed the arrest in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
Johnson said that the suspect, MD/CEO of BEEDEL Strategic Investment Company was arrested on May 24, after weeks of discrete investigation.
“He was arrested in connection with the forgery of 11 Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) of five multinational companies operating in Nigeria and one Agency of the Federal Government.
“The suspect paraded himself on Social Media as a successful contractor with interest in Civil Engineering/Construction, Real Estate and Supply/Importation of Heavy Engineering Equipment.
“BEEDEL, as the suspect is popularly known, operates in connivance with former and current procurement staff of the companies whose LPOs were used to perpetuate the fraud.
“BEEDEL forged the LPOs of these companies, government agency and approached numerous banks and investment companies with proposal to finance the LPOs which he cleverly tenured to be paid between 30-60 days, to make the LPO financing appear juicy.
“The suspect, using this modus operandi, was able to fraudulently obtain the sum of N816 million from two finance companies and diverted same to fund extravagant lifestyles which includes building a mansion, office complex and purchase of exotic automobiles.”
According to him, Investigation revealed that for over eight years, BEEDEL has mastered the art of using cloned LPOs to consecutively secure huge sums via LPO financing from different banks/finance companies.
“He uses money from one bank, finance company to settle his commitments to another bank/finance company, to maintain the fraudulent cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“BEEDEL circumvented due diligence done by some of the Banks/Finance companies with the inputs of Procurement Staff of the companies whose LPOs were forged.
“These procurement staff conspired with the suspect to confirm invalid LPOs to third parties.”
The Spokesperson said that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as the investigation was concluded.