An inmate of the Kuje Prison, Ifeanyi Ezenwa, who allegedly operates a fake bank alert fraud in jail, has been accused of defrauding an orthopaedic medical store of two wheel chairs and N50,000.
The police said he also scammed Elizade Motors into handing over a vehicle, which his accomplice, 43-year-old Dalhatu Yahaya, sold for N9m.
It would be recalled that Saturday Punch had reported in April how the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team had arrested some alleged accomplices of Ezenwa.
The police accused him at the time of using the same fake bank alert scheme to buy multi-million naira worth of exotic vehicles, some of which were later recovered.
However, in a fresh allegation, the IRT which suspects that some prison officials might be colluding with the inmate, said Ezenwa left the prison, escorted by prison warders under the guise of going for medicals at the National Hospital.
The police said he stopped by at the orthopaedic medical store opposite the hospital to make some purchase.
Ezenwa’s visit to the store was captured on CCTV, showing him in a flowing attire with a red cap and walking stick.
Two uniformed prison officials were seen behind him in the CCTV footage.
According to the police, Ezenwa bought some medical items, which he paid for in cash.
But the following day, he allegedly called the store, identified himself as a chief and ordered two wheel chairs and two blood pressure machines, which he paid for with a fake bank alert with an excess of N50,000
He was said to have later sent some of his boys to collect the goods and the extra N50,000.
When the accomplice, who took delivery of the goods was later arrested, he took IRT operatives to the store where they handed over the CCTV footage. Workers at the store explained that they had earlier reported the matter to the Police X Squad but that nothing had come out of the investigation.
An investigation report by the IRT headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, suggests that Ezenwa defrauded his victims by identifying himself as a traditional ruler living outside the country.
The report said, “He would make an order and say he was going to send one of his boys to pick up the goods while he would send the fake bank alert to the traders’ phones. What we discovered was that, each time he sends the bank alert to the victims, the account balance on the trader’s bank account would reflect but would vanish in a matter of minutes.
“We’ve had several complaints from members of the public about Ezenwa’s activities. We also arrested his wife at a time, who was the person receiving most of the stolen items since he was in the prison.
“But when we interrogated her, she confessed that she was not aware that her husband was a fraudster or a prison inmate.
“She told us that her husband was not present during their marriage and he only spoke with her on the phone. She added that she was told that her husband lived abroad.”
Saturday Punch learnt that on June 30, 2017, Ezenwa allegedly sent Yahaya to Elizade Motors, with instruction to take delivery of three vehicles – a Toyota Hilux, Land cruiser and a Toyota Prado.
Earlier, Yahaya allegedly went to the office of Elizade Motors and told them that his boss would like to speak with them on the phone over the purchase of some vehicles.
According to IRT’s investigations, when the company’s officials took the phone, Ezenwa, who identified himself as Dr. Sam Attah, asked for the quotation of the three vehicles.
The police report said, “After a negotiation, Ezenwa agreed to their prices and on July 8, 2017, he sent a fake alert to the company showing that the sum of N38.9m had been deposited into the company’s bank account.
“But at that time the company had just one of the vehicles in their showroom and gave the vehicle to Yahaya. But he ran away with the vehicle. He did not hand it over to Ezenwa. He fled to Kano State, where he sold it for N9m.”
Saturday Punch was told that the IRT later arrested Yahaya through information given by Ezenwa.
It was learnt that he became angry when he heard nothing from Yahaya and called Elizade Motors to give them information about the accomplice, which led to his arrest.
After he was apprehended, the Gombe State indigene explained that he graduated from the Legal Islamic School in Yola, Adamawa State in 2010.
He said in his statement that having worked as a driver at the Sharia Court in Gombe, he resigned in 2013 to contest the chairmanship election of his local government, which he lost.
Yahaya said, “I came to Abuja the following year and I went into property business. I met a man called Igwe at the Kuje Prison when I went to visit one of my friends called Geja. It was when I was arrested that I learned that Igwe’s real name is Ezenwa.
“The first job I did for him was at the orthopaedic store where he sent me to collect two wheelchairs and blood pressure machines and N50,000.
“I didn’t know that the items were bought with fake bank alerts but I collected my own percentage.
“Later, Geja called me and said Ezenwa wanted me to do a job for him, he asked me to go to Elizade Motors office and he spoke with them over the phone. I don’t know how he did it but after some days, Geja told me that Ezenwa said I should go to Elizade to pick up two vehicles.
“When I got to the company, they gave me just one vehicle, a Toyota Hilux and I called Geja that I would not hand over the vehicle to Ezenwa if he did not pay me 30 per cent of the value of the vehicle.
“When I did not get the money, I then took the vehicle to Kano and sold it for N9m. I bought a car of N1.9m and I spent the rest on people for my election plans.”
The police said fresh charges would be brought against Ezenwa, after investigation into the case, adding that plans were on to get the identities of prison officials aiding the suspect.