The Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone Two, Mbu Joseph Mbu, has recalled how his men turned down a N50 million bribe allegedly offered by Bureau De Change (BDC) operators who swindled their clients of N624 million.
Mbu was reacting to allegations of torture levelled against his men by two prime suspects in the case, one Alhaji Yerima Suleiman and Uwem Antia.
The suspects had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting investigation into their alleged unlawful detention and torture by Zone Two Police authorities and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He described the allegation as false and mischievous, concocted by the suspects with a view to frustrating ongoing investigations into their serial crimes.
Mbu explained that the officer in charge of the case, Ibrahim Dantoro, was offered N50 million to truncate the case but refused and informed the command about it.
According to Mbu, the suspects belong to a fraud syndicate who claim to be Bureau De Change (BDC) operators to obtain money from unsuspecting members of the public.
He explained that Suleiman, Antia and one Reagan Edet, who is at large, in February, fraudulently obtained N424 million from two of their victims with a promise to provide the dollar equivalent.
Mbu noted that when the complainants brought their case to the command, it was learnt that the same suspects had defrauded another victim of N200 million and the case reported to the EFCC.
He said the suspects were subsequently arrested by the anti-graft body, after which the command requested and got permission to interrogate them in relation to the case before it.
“After police interrogation, the suspects were returned to the EFCC on April 7, within the period of court order for their detention. There was no torture or infringement of the suspects’ right; neither did they make allegations of such while in police detention.
“While investigation was ongoing, another petition dated March 26, written by a law firm, Ayo Olubo & Co., accused the suspects and their cohorts of obtaining $2.5 million (USD).
“Our investigation further revealed that Suleiman, Antia, Edet and their cohorts are not forex dealers and do not own nor operate under any BDC. The same Alhaji Yerima Suleiman is being prosecuted for a similar crime at a Federal High Court in Jos since 2009. He is equally being investigated by the EFCC as unrepentant and hardened fraudster.
“These swindled monies belong to people and also involve bank staff who are at the verge of being sacked. Why did they not state that they have reached out to so many very highly placed individuals and even my colleagues but I refused and maintained that the suspects must be brought to book in the interest of justice.
“Why did they not state too that they preferred and had actually gone to court to request that the police hands-off the case before so the EFCC can take over? It is pertinent to state that their allegations are desperate attempts to pervert the course of justice, truncate police investigation and escape being prosecuted,” the police chief said.