N1.5bn transformer scam: Suspects impersonate presidency

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Toyosi Ogunseye

The game is up for six suspected fraudsters, two of who impersonated the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Inuwa Baba Lawal; and Yusuf Galambi, a member of the House of Representatives.

The suspects allegedly stole the identities of Lawal and Galambi and used them to defraud Mr. Ejike Hyginus Onyekaozulu, the managing director of Ogotex Electrical Company Nigeria Limited, whom they sold a business proposal of a contract job for the supply of electric transformer and accessories worth N1.5b to the State House, Abuja.

The six suspects are Abdulahi Abdulkadir Mainasara (alias Inuwa Baba Lawal); Musa Yakubu (alias Muhammed Lawal); Danyaro Chidawa ( alias Baba Yaro), Hadi M. Inuwa (alias Musa Adamu); Ibrahim Mohammed (alias Muazam Abdulkadir) and Mohammed Rabiu Lawan (alias Hon. Yusuf Galambi).

It was learnt that Onyekaozulu met with Baba at the pilot gate to the presidential villa in Abuja. The business transaction commenced when Baba, who is said to be the kingpin of the fraudulent gang, allegedly hoodwinked Onyekaozulu into making him believe that the presidency was awarding a N1.5b transformer contract and as the Senior Special Assistant on Protocol to the President, he (Baba) was in a better position to influence the award of the contract.

Onyekaozulu believed him and started paying money into different accounts reportedly provided by Baba.

It was gathered that the victim started payment of money on April 2, 2008, when he was asked to pay N25,250 for the purchase of a contract application form and registration of business name under category ‘F’ at the State House.

Thereafter, Onyekaozulu was asked to pay the sum of N25m to facilitate the supply of 100 units of 2,5MVA powered transformers estimated at N1.5b.

At the request of Baba, the victim said, he made payments of the sum of N14.8m in cash to one Femi Adelabu and another N10m through the following bank accounts: Adelabu Adefemi, Oceanic Bank; Danyaro Chidawa , UBA; Mohammed Lawan, UBA; Adamu Musa, UBA; and Mohammed Ibrahim,UBA.

Onyekaozulu further said that he made payments of various sums and also paid the sum of N275,000 to facilitate and secure the award of the contract to Ogotex Electrical Company Nigeria Limited from the Federal Government.

Onyekaozulu continued making payments into the various account numbers given to him by Baba for the purpose of “settlement” of Villa officials. Between April 2, 2008 and May 28, 2009, he had lodged into the various accounts over N55m.

The bubble burst when the FG advertised procurement of transformers in the national newspapers and the complainant was unable to participate in the bidding process. He requested that his money be refunded but Baba refused and became incommunicado. Onyekaozulu then reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In the course of the EFCC’s investigation, letters of invitation were sent to the Nasarawa State University, the managing Directors of Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Ltd., as well as Marble Court Services Apartments whose properties were allegedly used to defraud the complainant.

Upon interrogation, Baba was said to have made confessional statements of making use of the Marble Court Services Apartments but denied the use of Dantata & Sawoe Director’s guest house. He allegedly admitted that he normally checked in as a guest before bringing in his scam victims, after which he quietly checked out after his escapades.

The spokesman of the anti-graft commission, Femi Babafemi, said that its operatives obtained and analysed correspondences from banks, the Corporate Affairs Commission and telecoms service providers. The account officers to the accounts used in defrauding the complainant have also been invited to make statements.

He said, “The sum of over N10m obtained under false pretences from the complainant has been confirmed by the principal suspect, Alhaji Abdulkadir Mainasara, alias Inuwa Baba; while the balance of N14m alleged by the complainant is yet to be ascertained as the suspect, Adefemi Adelabu, who acted as the personal assistant to Baba, who collected same in instalments, is still at large.

Already, plans have been perfected to arraign the suspects before Justice Olasunbo Goodluck of the High Court of the FCT on a 27-count charge.

One of the charges reads; “That you, Abdullahi Abdulkadir Mainasara Musa Yakubu, Danyaro Chidawa, Hadi M. Inuwa, Ibrahim Muhammed, Mohammed Rabiu Lawan and others at large, on or about the 17th day of June, 2008 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N5m from Ogotex Electrical Company Nigeria Limited through its Managing Director, one Mr. Ejike Hyginus Onyekaozulu, under the false pretence that the said sum would be used to facilitate and secure the award of contract to Ogotex Electrical Company Nigeria Limited from the Federal Government, which you knew was false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”


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