More facts have continued to emerge on those involved in the recent alleged theft of N310 million belonging to some bureau de change operators in Abuja even as the Department of State Security Service (DSS) had paraded two of its officials who participated in the robbery.
The matter, which is currently being investigated by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command, has led to the arrest of a marketer with one of the new generation banks in Abuja. The banker was said to have been contacted by one of the suspects to move the money to a safe location.
It could be recalled that Saturday Sun had in an exclusive report about three weeks ago detailed how some bureau de change operators lost N310million to some gunmen who identified themselves to be DSS operatives.
According to the report, the armed men lured the bureau de change operators to a house at Maitama, Abuja, under the pretext that they wanted to change US dollars’ worth N310million.
They assured them that the amount was urgently needed to be taken to Kogi State for the governorship election taking place there the following day, Saturday.
On getting to the house at Maitama, about four heavily armed men dressed in DSS vests and military camouflage rounded them up claiming that they were under arrest.
Three policemen hired by the bureau de change operators to escort them to the house were said to have left the compound when the armed men presented identity cards which showed that they were DSS operatives.
As soon as they left, the armed men collected the entire money and other valuables and fled the house in a Hilux van. In the report, a senior officer in the command confirmed to Saturday Sun that one of the suspects insisted that the DSS and military men involved were still in active service and attached to the house of one of the nation’s high ranking public office holders (names withheld by us).
Shortly after the report, the DSS in a statement made available to the media announced the arrest of two out of five of its staff members involved in the robbery and sharing of the N310m belonging to the bureau de change operators. Those arrested are Abdulrasheed Ahmadu Maigari and George Mwatapwa Ibbi.
According to the statement, investigations showed that that the two suspects also conspired with three others known as Solomon Inusa, Peter Okoye and Patrick Ishaya. Also, five military personnel led by one Captain Hussein Ishaku Mshella allegedly participated in the robbery. In the report, DSS claimed that a total of Sixty-Six Million Four Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-five Naira (N66, 437,445.00) and Six Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($6,200) have so far been recovered from the suspects, while efforts were being made to recover the remaining amount.
I never knew the money was stolen- Banker
While in police custody, the banker, who was contacted by one of the suspects currently in police custody, alleged that he wanted to assist the suspect to buy a land in Abuja. He claimed that he deposited the money into the suspect’s account to help him (bank marketer) to meet up with his target for the month.
He insisted that the suspect was one of his reliable customers and as an account officer; he did not bother to query the source of the money. He explained that N12million was given to him to deposit pending when he would bring the balance.
The suspect, Sani, who initially told the police that the money had not been shared, confessed when the police through its advanced tracking technology traced and arrested the banker.
Also on the wanted list of the police is a real estate operator and the husband of a popular presenter in one of the national television stations in Abuja. The suspect identified as Gift (surname and picture withheld by us) have been making frantic efforts to convince the detectives investigating the matter to pretend as if all efforts to reach him had failed.
It was also gathered that the FCT Police Commissioner had promised that he would track and fish out Gift from where ever he is hiding.
Realising that it is not going to be business as usual, it was gathered that Gift relocated to Lagos state and perfected a plan to flee the country.
Initially, the female presenter fled their house in Abuja when they learnt of the manhunt. Upon realising that hiding was about to ruin her career, she handed herself over to the police in company of two lawyers.
She told the police that she was not aware that her husband of three years had suddenly become a criminal. The mother of two also promised to help the police pick her husband, when seen.
All efforts to get across to the command spokesman, ASP Manzah Jesse Anjuguri failed as he’s yet to respond to text messages sent to him as at press time.
However, our reliable source at the command explained that investigation was still on going. He confirmed that one of the suspects had made efforts to get across to the police to negotiate. “The Commissioner of Police is personally interested in this case and is guiding the team. One of the prime suspects, made effort to buy his way out of this matter but failed. We will definitely catch him, no matter where he runs to. We hope that the Immigration Service will be at alert in case he dares to leave the country. Several suspects have been arrested and will soon be unveiled to the public. The suspected DSS officials are still in the custody of DSS, Abuja while the military man who was attached to the Brigade of Guards is being detained at the DMI section.
As soon as they are handed over to us, we will charge them to court,” the source said.
He further explained that the major challenge in such a case is that the real owners of the money will not be interested in following the case as soon as it is charged to court. “This is always our major challenge, because most of the owners who cannot give accurate explanation of the source of the money will not be ready to go to court”, the source added.