The Lagos state command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has confirmed the arrest of a suspect who posed as a businessman and gave a bureau de change (BDC) operator fake $7000 notes in exchange for N3.4m thereby defrauding the latter.
The suspected fraudster identified as John Eze was arrested over the weekend by officers from the Zone 2 Police Command in Onikan after the BDC operator, Ismaila Ali, identified him at his residence in the Ogba area of the state.
The 34-year-old suspect was said to have approached Ali sometime in January 2017 to buy forex supposedly needed to pay construction workers at one of his business premises.
Eze thereafter agreed to pay Ali the sum of N3,451,000, buying the dollars at the rate of N493 per dollar. The transaction took place in Eze’s LEXUS 470 Jeep with number plate, Lagos AKD 612 DA.
The BDC operator on reaching his office in Ikoyi however discovered that Eze had given him 74 fake pieces of 100 dollar note.
Narrating his experience to newsmen, Ali said: “I borrowed N2.6m from my colleagues and added my money to it to make it N3,451,000, the equivalent of the money he wanted to exchange. Out of apprehension, I told my apprentice to keep the money, while I meet him first so that if he had a weapon, he would not get any money from me.”
Ali said he had initially checked the money but the suspect later feigned a call with his wife after which he cancelled the transaction only to receive another call instructing him to go ahead with the exchange.
“I collected the naira from my boy at the back and passed it to him, while he used his left hand to pass the dollars to my boy directly. My boy did not check because he thought it was the dollars we had counted earlier. He put the money in his pocket.
“After we alighted from the vehicle, my mind told me to take his number plate, which I did,” Ali said.
Commenting on the issue, SP Dolapo Badmos, as reported by Punch, said the suspect had confessed to the crime.
“The BDC operator was smart enough to get the vehicle number plate and that aided police investigation. The suspect, upon his arrest, confessed to the crime. The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Aderanti, has ordered that the suspect be brought to justice,” she said.
In February, the Nasarawa police similarly arrested a Lagos resident said to belong to a cartel dealing in fake currencies. The suspect was arrested with fake N1000 notes worth N8.9m.
A Nollywood movie producer, Seun Egbegbe was also arrested and arraigned in February for defrauding 33 bureau de change operators.