By Sandra Chukwunyere
|A suspected fraudster caught with 2,886 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and four Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards,has been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.|
The suspect, one lshaq Abubakar from Kano State was on his way to Dubai via Emirates flight when he was intercepted by the men of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Murtala Muhamed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
Addressing newsmen , the Deputy Controller, MMIA command Abdulmumin Bako said the suspect was handed over to the EFCC on Thursday.
“At about 1145 hours on Aug. 22, at the departure hall gate ’B’ of the MMIA, Abubakar with Passport Number A08333717 from Kano State travelling to Dubai via Emirates flight was intercepted with 2,886 ATM Cards of various banks and 4 sim cards by our officers on duty”.
“The ATM cards and sim cards were carefully concealed in a noodles carton by the suspect.
“The suspect claimed that one Mr Musliu was assigned to him to facilitate his movement through the checks at the airport by one Mr Suleiman but due to the diligence of our Officers who insisted on conducting physical examination, revealed the concealment,” he said.
According to Bako the suspect claimed that he was due for evacuation and had bought an evacuation flight ticket for his use.
The Customs Legal Adviser, Mr Smart Akande stated that the suspect was handed over to EFCC in demonstration of the interagency agency collaboration between the two public institutions, adding that customs does not have the jurisdiction to proecute but to arrest.
“What we have here is the case file, ATM cards and the noodles used in concealing the ATM cards and we are handing them over to EFCC for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.
Receiving the suspect, the Zonal Head, EFCC, Lagos, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa said preliminary investigation revealed that the ATM cards recovered from him were to be used for money laundering.
Bawa gave an assurance that the case would be thoroughly investigated to among others unravel whether there was a conspiracy or not.
“We have taken over Abubakar who is in possession of 2886 ATM cards concealed in a carton of noddle together with 4 sim cards to investigate and know whether there is conspiracy, or foreign exchange malpractices.
“We are also to determine whether banks or bankers are involved in this crime. We will investigate and anyone found wanting will be prosecuted alongside the suspect.
Bawa pointed out that having more than one ATM card is not a crime but for someone to be arrested for being in possession of 2863 at a time brings about lot of suspicion and its conspiracy itself .
He observed that the fact that the cards were from different banks also raised suspicion.
Bawa warned Nigerians selling their bank accounts to fraudsters to desist from the criminal act even as he noted that this has been trending in the country in the last couple of years.
“In the last couple of years, we notice a trend whereby Nigerians are selling their bank accounts to fraudsters as they advise people to open bank accounts and they buy from them as low as N10,000.
“They should know that anyone buying your bank account is using it for fraudulent transactions and banks also needs to be investigated because that means they are not carrying due diligence such as Know Your Customers (KYC) on respective bank customers.