A look at 65-year-old Akpan Joseph , will never pass him for a fraudster, owing to his seemingly calm disposition. But he is currently cooling his heels at the dreaded Lagos State Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Ikeja.
Reason? He was reported to have gone to one of the Ilorin branches of a first generation bank,on January 7, 2015, posing as one of the account holders , who had come to transfer the sum of N1 million from his supposed account , into two separate accounts,
Meanwhile, the authentic account holder, a 35 year-old business man identified as Chinedu Mba, was murdered four months earlier by unknown gunmen in his apartment in Gindiri Jos, Plateau state.
Back in the banking hall in Ilorin, Joseph was asked to sit down while the transaction was being processed. Unknown to him, the cashier who apparently suspected something was amiss, had called in the police. Joseph was reportedly arrested and later transferred to the Lion building division in Lagos. Thereafter, he was transferred to the SARS.
On further checks, the late Chinedu Mba’s phone was also discovered from Joseph.
In this interview with Crime Guard, he claimed to have been hired by a man whose name he simply gave as Benson, to make the transaction, with a promise to be given N200,000 at the end. He further stated that the said Benson also handed the decease d’s sim card to him.
Hear the Akwa-ibom state born : “ A man called Benson , whom I met about ten years ago while I was a security man at Tin Island ports, took me to Ilorin for a business transaction.
He did not give me full details of the business transaction but he promised to give me 20% of the amount . The way he described the business made the transaction look so easy and without complications .
We travelled to Ilorin on January, 5, 2015 and lodged in Henry George hotel for two days.
Thereafter, Benson gave me a filled fund transfer form before we proceeded to Union bank where he asked me to submit the form, posing as the account holder. The filled form was an instruction to transfer N500,000 each into two separate GTB accounts with name Victoria Abikele.
But to my surprise, the cashier looked intently at me and back to the computer system before him. Before I knew it, I was arrested . And when I turned to look for Benson, he was no where to be found”
Journey to MTN to retrieve decease SIM card
It was after I was arrested that I got to know that the owner of the account was murdered. I am not the killer. I was in possession of the sim because Benson went to MTN office in Ilorin to retrieve the number of late Chinedu, while I waited for him in the car. On his arrival, he handed the phone to me.
I didn’t kill the late Chinedu. I didn’t even know that he was dead. Right now I feel very stupid for my action because I never thought I would get into this kind of trouble. I wish Benson would be arrested. He has answers to the questions at hand.
I strongly believe that an insider in the bank gave Benson the information that Chinedu was dead, that is why he had all the details about the deceased.
Ah! what will my family say? I told my wife in the village that I was going to Seme to buy second hand clothes. I didn’t tell her I was travelling to Illorin for a business transaction”, he said in an emotional laden tone.
On his part, the bereaved father , Mr Merclenious Mba, a native of Enugu state, described the whole scenero as a movie, wishing he would wake up to discover it was one after all.
The 57 year-old father of nine, said the family received with shock the news of the death of his son, Chinedu, on September 9, 2014, by gunmen who stormed his apartment.
“Immediately I received the news, I requested that his remains be brought home which they did and he was buried according to the traditional rites in my place.
After his burial ceremony I sent some family members to his house in Jos to bring back his properties, only to discover that he had about N6.5 million in his union bank account.
We went to the bank with all necessary data and the bank agreed to transfer the funds to Obinna, my younger son’s account. But on arriving the bank with Obinna, we were made to understand that someone had been making withdrawals from my late son’s account, as a withdrawal of N1 million had been made, by one Victoria Abikele, on January 5, 2015, leaving out N5.5 million. We were advised to go to Abuja , where the person that was using my late son’s number was traced to.
From Abuja, we came to Lion Building division ,Lagos, where two men ; a father and son alleged to have been caught with my late son’s phone were brought before us! We were told that they had been impersonating Obinna and I”
To ascertain the true identities of Mr Mba and his son Obinna, the Police at Lion building reportedly requested for the number of the deceased. Obinna was said to have called it out and when the number was dialled, the phone with the impostor rang.
At that point, the bereaved father who was infuriated, attempted to hit Akpan Joseph, the impostor, but he was prevented by the police.
Trying hard not to betray his emotion, Mr Mba said: “ All I want is justice. I want in-depth investigation, that would lead to those involved in the death of my son. They must be brought to book.”