A man suspected of being a member of a fraud syndicate, Momoh Enema, has been arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response team after his gang allegedly impersonated the Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazau, and tried to defraud a chief in Sokoto State.
Saturday PUNCH learnt Enema, 40, a native of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State, is being interrogated over his role in the scam in which his syndicate allegedly used the name of Dambazau to solicit $10,000 from the Seriki of Gwandabawa, Sokoto State.
A source told our correspondent that the leader of the syndicate, identified simply as Dr. Usman, in April 2017, contacted the chief using the name of Dambazau.
Dr. Usman, who is currently on the run, allegedly “informed the Seriki that President Muhammdu Buhari had decided to reward the Seriki and his people at Gwadanbwa, Sokoto State for their support during the 2015 election and had decided to employ 20 indigenes of Gwadanbawa into the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Customs Service,” the source said.
Saturday PUNCH was told that the fake Dambazau asked the chief to send the names and curriculum vitae of the 20 candidates through the office of the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Interior along with the sum of N45,000 on each applicant.
He reportedly told the Seriki that the money would be used for procuring training kits for the applicants. But the unsuspecting chief indeed sent 20 names, the CVs and the sum of N1m through the said “chief of staff” to the “minister” and a date was given to him, when the applicants would commence training.
But the police said few weeks later, the fake minister called the chief and informed him that the Ministry of Interior was about issuing contracts for the supply of equipment to the Nigeria Police Force, Customs Service and other para-militaries under the ministry, worth N3bn.
“The fake minister then asked the Seriki to send him his company’s profile and the sum of $10,000 to the personal assistant to the minister. The chief became curious and decided to conduct a proper check before sending such amount of money.
“He contacted the House of Representatives member representing his constituency, Abdullahi Salame, asking him to verify from Dambazau if he was indeed the one demanding the said money for the contracts.”
After confirming that he was dealing with fraudsters, the chief was said to have played along and agreed to lure the fake minister to a location in Abuja where he was supposed to be arrested.
Our correspondent learnt that when the Seriki informed the fraudsters that the money and documents were ready, Dr. Usman said he would send his “PA to pick them up.”
But in his statement, Enema denied belonging to any fraud syndicate.
According to him, he met Dr. Usman at the Millennium Development Goals office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during a contract bidding process in 2014.
The suspect is married with two children and is said to be the leader of the Igala Young Empowerment Initiative.
He said, “When I met Dr. Usman, he told me that he usually got contracts from the Federal Government and sold those he could not execute. He said he also bought from people who could not execute theirs.
“I didn’t know that he was a fraudster until I was arrested. He normally sent me on errands after which he would give me some money.
“The day I was arrested,he called and we met at Area 11, Abuja. We drove in his car to a Total petrol station close to the Police Force Headquarters, he asked me to go into the petrol station and that someone would give me a parcel.
“When I entered the filling station, I saw a big man who asked if I am the PA to the minister and I said yes and we shook hands and I was arrested by the police.
“We drove out of the place immediately I was arrested. I told the people who arrested me that I wasn’t aware of what was happening that I was only sent on an errand and they did not listen.
“They took me to General Dambazau in his office and he advised me to assist the police in arresting Dr. Usman and that they would allow me go home.”
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