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The Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Alagbon, Lagos has grilled an aide to a serving senator for his alleged role in $38,200 (the equivalent of ₦22.5 million) fraud.
Police sources said the arrest and detention of the aide followed a strong-worded petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, FCID Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos; jointly signed by a Lagos royal father, Oba Gbolahan Akanbi Timson, of Shomulu Bariga and Alhaja Amina, a property CEO; alleging that the senator’s aide conspired with a Nigerian-based in the US to defraud one Tony who was introduced to the suspect and his sidekick in his palace of the said amount.
It was gathered that the Nigerian based in the USA, who goes by a pseudonym Larry with another person’s picture on his WhatsApp status and other social media accounts, lives in Brooklyn, New York and not New Jersey, as claimed in all his contacts and correspondents with his acquaintances.
Further checks revealed that the said Larry was introduced to the royal father by the senator’s aide some years back, and has since become a regular caller to the palace whenever he was in the country. It was during one of the visits that the issue of changing $38,200 to naira was mentioned and he quickly said he was into such a deal; stressing that whenever Alhaja Amina Oluyegun, who introduced Mr Matthew (owner of the money) was prepared and ready for the transaction, they should notify him so that he would give an account for the transfer of the hard currency and, thereafter, send the naira equivalent without delay.
A senior police officer hinted further that when the dollars were ready, Larry was contacted via a verified telephone number and he forwarded an account in which a bank draft of $38,200 was paid, and he acknowledged receipt. He was said to have been pre-informed that the said money was genuine and clean, and assured that he had an Abuja-based buyer who wanted to use the money to purchase cars and that there would be no infraction.
The transaction however took a different turn after the owner of the money waited for two weeks in vain with no sign of the naira equivalent. Contacted, sources said Larry admitted receiving receipt of the money but added that the money was clearing in tranches. His response infuriated Alhaja Amina and the royal father, in whose palace the introduction was made and the deal sealed; questioning how could a bank draft or cheque be clearing in tranches.
Shortly after, it was learned that Larry no longer picked his calls from either Alhaja Amina or the royal father, fueling speculation that he was out to defraud. The senator’s aide was contacted and reports say he promised to wade into the matter as he was the one who introduced Larry to the palace and by extension, Alhaja Amina, and, of course, Tony who owes the money. A palace assistant, Prince Obanisola, said the royal father was compelled to write a petition to the police in order to clear his name.
‘The man was brought to the Palace about five years ago by a man who works with a Senator, a good friend of the Palace. Since then, whenever he is in the country, he comes to the Palace to visit our Oba and the relationship went on. It was during one of the visits that Alhaja Amina Oluyegun was discussing the issue of changing US Dollars to naira with Kabiyesi and Larry quickly interjected that he was into the deal and that whenever they were ready he should be contacted,’ he stated.
‘It was later that Kabiyesi was informed by Alhja Amina that the transaction had been done and the naira equivalent was being awaited. But when the owner of the money started waiting for the naira equivalent and it was not forthcoming, Alhaja ran to Kanbiyesi to complain and that was how Larry was contacted and started first, with the narrative of the money ‘dropping in tranches’ because it was paid through a Bank Draft.
When he realized that the people he was talking to had knowledge of monetary transactions, he changed the narrative that the account he actually presented belonged to one Yinka and that he said the money was not genuine. Out of the colossal amount, Larry only paid N4 million, so kabiyesi was forced to write the petition to the Police because even the man who introduced larry to the Palace, was not helping matters.
At the peak of the whole issue, he was called, but he said he could not say nor do anything as of then because he was planning his daughter’s wedding. And after the wedding, he was called again but he gave an unsatisfactory response that he doesn’t want to dabble into such an issue.
‘He also boastfully said he is close to some senior Police officers when told that the matter would be reported to the Police; counter-threatening that whatever the owner of the money wants to do, he should go ahead. And true to his threat and boast, the moment he was arrested, calls from the top police echelon started flooding in to have him released immediately. A retired commissioner who is now a lawyer was brought into the picture.
A senior police officer at FCIID told Newsmen that the aide to the serving senator was grilled and granted bail while the police were making efforts to extradite Larry to Nigeria with the help of INTERPOL.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK