The long arms of the law have caught up with eight suspects in Edo State who allegedly attempted to defraud the federal government of a whopping $2 billion (USD). The arrest, according to the State Police Command, was sequel to a complaint received by its crack team April 25, 2022, via a petition from one High Chief Richard David, a representative of Okpella community, in Etsako Central local government area of the state.
Chidi Nwabuzor, superintendent of police, SP, and the Command’s Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) told news men on Tuesday, 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 two billion dollars. The said equipments were meant for the Okpella water project by the Federal Government under the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
According to Nwabuzor, “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 evacuating the items. During 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 auctioneering documents for the operation”.
The police spokesman said investigation had been concluded and that the suspects would soon be charged to court.
Nwabuzor 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”.
Admitting to the crime, the staff of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, and a Principal Administrative Officer, told journalists 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 ₦500,000 as a token of appreciation.