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EFCC traces N18.7 million to school leavers’ accounts

Posted by Sesan Olufowobi on 2006/06/05 | Views: 1092 |

EFCC traces N18.7 million to school leavers’ accounts


Two secondary school leavers are currently explaining to the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on how they managed to accumulate a total sum of N18.7 million in their accounts at Access Bank.

Two secondary school leavers are currently explaining to the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on how they managed to accumulate a total sum of N18.7 million in their accounts at Access Bank.

Officials of the Onikan, Lagos branch of the bank initially arrested Stephen Uwem Silas (25) and Kennedy Aifuwa Umweni (23), who were bosom friends, before handing them over to EFCC.

Saturday Punch was told that they were alarmed that the young boys, who also confessed that they were unemployed, could have such large amount of deposit in their accounts. It was learnt that while Silas had N13. 7 million in his account, Umweni had over N5 million.

Interestingly, Silas’ younger brother, Aniekal, unwittingly caused the duo’s journey to trouble. An official of the EFCC told our correspondent that Aniekal had gone to the bank in the morning to make N5,000 withdrawal, but could not do so as he had just N522 in the account. A few hours later, he returned to the bank, but this time clutching Umweni’s cheque book. Luck ran out on him as the signature was discovered to be forged. He was subsequently arrested.

Aniekal had then mentioned that the owner of the account was a family friend, which prompted the bank official to call Umweni, inviting him to come and identify Aniekal.

However, when Umweni arrived in company with Silas, the officials of Access Bank found it difficult to believe that such a young man, who had earlier said he was unemployed and applying to the university to study, could command a large sum as N5 million in his account.

In the course of their investigation, it was also discovered that Silas was a customer of the bank. After discreetly checking his own account, the bank officials found N13.7million. They subsequently invited the EFCC.

An official of the commission told Saturday Punch that the team that investigated the case discovered that there was a pattern in the deposits of both suspects. “We discovered that they usually deposit their funds on the same day and almost the same amount.”

He said that initially, the boys claimed that their fathers and relatives deposited the money in their accounts, “but now they are singing different tunes. Silas said he got just N300, 000 of the amount from Internet fraud, the rest was from two unknown friends in Nigeria and England. But for Umweni, he said those who gave him the money are all Nigerians from the Internet. We have however, gone through their E-mail and discovered a lot of scam letters. They are Internet fraudsters,” the official said.

Spokesman of the commission, Osita Nwaja who confirmed the case said the three boys involved in the scam had cases to answer, adding that they would face trial as soon as investigation was completed.

SATURDAY PUNCH, June 03, 2006

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