In Sokoto zone: Increased cases of fraudsters worries EFCC
From Umar Danladi Ado, Sokoto
Disturbed by the increase in cases of fraudsters and money doublers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Sokoto Zonal Office has warned perpetrators of such acts to know that they have no hiding places in the zone.
The Zonal Officer in charge of the zone, which comprises, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States, Abdullahi Lawal stated this in an interview shortly after parading five persons suspected to be fraudsters in Sokoto.
Lawal lamented that since he assumed office as the zonal officer in charge of the commission recently, majority of cases the commission received were that of fraudsters.
He noted that fraudsters’ cases are rampant and everywhere, warning the public to be wary of the type of people they conduct business or interact on social media with.
The Zonal Office paraded and arrested four civil servants to newsmen on an alleged offence of conspiracy, stealing and diversion of public funds to the tune of N980, 000 in the state.
Those arrested were Tukur Lando Yabo, the Director of Works, Tureta Local Government Area and Hon, Abubakar Nasarawa Maigishiri, Councillor, Social Welfare of the local council.
Others were Danjuma Ibrahim, a Cashier with the state Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Department and Sambo Abdullahi, a staff of the ministry. Lawal stated that among the suspects were also payment committee members of Neighborhood Watch/Sokoto Marshall Corps.
He said they were arrested recently, following a petition the commission received from a representative of the Neighborhood Watch Employees of Tureta Local Government Council.
The petitioner alledged that the salaries of the months of April, May and June of the 18 employee members of Neighborhood Watch were held by the ministry and was not paid.
Lawal stated that the petitioner further alleged that the suspects refused to pay their salaries and diverted the money for their personal use and all effort made to get their salaries paid proved abortive.
The Zonal Officer noted that investigation conducted by the commission revealed that Tukur Lando Yabo, who is the Director of Works and Housing of the Tureta local council conspired with one Abubakar Nasarawa popularly known as Maigishiri, a Councillor in the local government and two others from the ministry and shared two months’ salaries of 15 Neighborhood employees among themselves.
He further said the suspects have confessed to their offences and the sum of N300, 000 diverted was fully recovered.
He maintained that the money would be handed over to the employees immediately and the suspects would be taken to court as soon as investigation is concluded. In the same vein, the commission has apprehended a suspected fraudster, one Hamzat Bashir Muhammad who claimed to own a gold business company with name Hamga Investment Company in Sokoto.
Lawal explained that investigation revealed that Hamzat has lured about 300 people in the name of investment in the purported gold company and was found to have duped and collected over N84 million from the gold businesses willing investors. He said the claim by Muhammad to have owned a gold business even as the commission in the cause of investigation took the suspect to Yawuri town in Kebbi State where he insisted to have functional facilities for the mining and explorations of gold business proved abortive.
The zonal officer assured to arraign the suspect before the Federal High Court, Sokoto for prosecution on five count charges immediately after the courts return from vacations.
“The fraudsters’ cases at times look funny but is a real business; it is too rampant here; they are practicing their illegal activities and were making money, and we are on them,” Lawal said.
According to him, people should resist any phone calls asking them to give their account details or account pin numbers as presently fraudsters were now luring people in the name of bank staff to defraud and siphon their money.