SSS cracks gang of four specialised in diverting dividend warrants

By The Citizen
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The State Security Services (SSS) has arrested four suspects who allegedly specialise in stealing and diverting dividend warrants from the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST).

The Director of the service in Anambra, Mr Alex Okeiyi, announced the arrest in Awka on Monday while briefing newsmen.

Okeiyi gave the names of the suspects as Cletus Ohaegbulem, Emmanuel Mbakwe, Yahaya Anifowoshe and Mojeed Babatunde.

He said Ohaegbulem, 43, who he described as 'a notorious fraudster' for maintaining multiple identities with his picture, was arrested in Asaba.

According to Okeiyi, a total of 194 dividend warrants belonging to unsuspecting shareholders were recovered from him.

'Among them was a UBA warrant in the sum of N38,727 belonging to Rev. Uma Ukpai of Post Office Box 761, Uyo.

'He confessed to conniving with the manager of Okaiuga Micro-Finance Bank, Umuahia,  Ukanwoke Orji, now at large, and his Operations Manager, Emmanuel Mbakwe, to cash the warrant through a spurious company, Access Enterprises Ltd,'' he said.

The director said the suspect also confessed to have swindled uncountable number of victims through non-existent contracts in Ebonyi State Government House, posing as a top official of the government.

Okeiyi said that Mbakwe, 54, also confessed to have entered into agreement with Ohaegbulem to receive 20 per cent each of the value when cashed.

'Anifowoshe, 45, was implicated by Ohaegbulem as the supplier of the warrants.

'He confessed to have been approached by one Chisom in January 2012 to source for dividend warrants and consequently approached Babatunde of NIPOST to source the items,'' he said.

The director said the value of the warrants sourced by the suspects ranged from N30,000 and above, adding that he paid Babatunde N1,000 for each worth N40,000 and N500 for each worth N30,000.

Okeiyi said the warrants sold to both Chisom and Ohaegbulem were worth about N20 million.

He added that a total of 25 dividend warrants were recovered from the suspect at the point of arrest, including that of Oando PLC in the sum of N37,704 belonging to Sen. Uche Chukwumerije.

“The other UBA warrant in the sum of N47,416 belonged to Prof. Ifedayo Olawale,'' he said.

The fourth suspect, Babatunde, 45, was also of the NIPOST before his arrest and had confessed to the crime.

Okeiyi said the suspects would be handed over to the relevant agency for further investigation and necessary action.

Similarly, Okeiyi said that one Chukwunonso Emeghalu, 30, had been arrested for collecting applications from unsuspecting members of the public to secure employment for them in the service.

'Some of the victims disclosed that the suspect informed them that their training would commence in Enugu on Aug. 15, only to send text messages to them postponing the commencement to Oct. 28.

He cited a send-off ceremony for the state director of security as the reason for the postponement.

The victims claimed he was extorting little amount of money from them for the employment and sometimes demanded for drinks from them.

The director said the suspect claimed that the idea of employment scam suddenly came to him but he later realized it was not going to work and returned most of the applications to their owners.

He said that the credentials of five victims and one application for employment into the service were recovered during a search on his residence.

The director warned members of the public to be wary of fraudsters claiming to provide jobs for them, especially through the internet or agents.