A middle-aged man, Pius Asomba, suspected to be the leader of a notorious syndicate that specialized in dispossessing businessmen of large sums of money through fake bank alerts, has been arrested by the police in Lagos.
The Anambra State-born suspect was arrested after he jumped bail and disappeared for over two years.
Police sources said the criminal exploits of the suspect was blown open on August 31, 2012, after he went to one Engr. Moses Adebayo at Alaba International market a major distributor with Nigerchin Development Company in Ikeja, and placed an order for cables worth N9.5 million. According to the source, when he was told to pay for the goods, he claimed to be in a hurry and promised to pay through his bank.
“After they finished loading the goods around 4p.m., that day, the owner received alert of N9.5million from his bank, confirming prompt payment and the suspect also called to confirm payment. The owner of the goods also corresponded with his bank and it was confirmed, he thereafter released the goods and gave the suspect extra N50,000 for transport expenses.”
The story, however, took a different dimension when the owner of the goods went to the bank few days later only to be told that it was a magic alert as nothing was paid into his account. Based on this, the police was alerted and they commenced search for the suspect for over a month without success.
Vanguard learned that while detectives were looking for him, the suspect went to the warehouse of another trader at Okokomaiko to buy iron worth about N4 million.
He succeeded also in deceiving them with fake bank alert prompting the involvement of both the police at Okokomaiko and a private investigator, who ended up arresting him through his girlfriend living in Egbeda area of Lagos State.
It was gathered that after his arrest, he confessed to the crime and promised to pay the money. He was, however, taken to Magistrate court at Agbo-Malu Road, Apapa, where he presented three sureties.
He later jumped bail and efforts to get the sureties failed. Fortunately, after about two years of searching for him, one of the sureties was traced early this year and arrested. The surety was granted bail with a promise to produce the principal suspect but he failed. On November 30, 2015, the principal suspect was arrested at Gowon Estate where he has been hiding and handed over to officials of court, where he is being tried.
Meanwhile, it was learned that the complainant was forced to close his account with the bank after the suspect confessed that he connived with some officials of the bank to dupe him. Police said detectives are also investigating some officials of the bank with a view to fishing out all those involved in the fraud.
When contacted, Lagos State police spokesman, Joe Offor, said the police did their job by arresting the suspect and charging him to court. He assured that the matter would be prosecuted to its logical conclusion.