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NIPOST Intercepts N2.5B Fake Cheques

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: POSTMASTER GENERAL MALLAM IBRAHIM MORI BABA.
PHOTO: POSTMASTER GENERAL MALLAM IBRAHIM MORI BABA.


LAGOS, July 01, (THEWILL) - The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) today came up with a shocking revelation that about $17.279 million (equivalent of N2.5 billion) value of fake cheques and other negotiable financial instruments have been intercepted between October 2009 and March 2010.

Postmaster General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba made the disclosure at the 5th BULKPOST Annual Customers’ Forum held in Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, saying the N2.5 billion scams were unraveled in about 1,708 letters containing various fake cheques and other negotiable financial instruments of different foreign banks.

Speaking at the forum which focused on the Nigerian Capital Market Mail: The Crime, Criminal and Law; the postmaster-general added that the letters were intended to defraud unsuspecting foreign investors and in the process drag Nigeria’s image in the mud.

According to the NIPOST helmsman, the interception was made possible through the collaborative efforts of agencies such as the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) of Britain, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS).

Baba confirmed that some NIPOST staff members found collaborating with the criminals had been handed over to the Law Enforcement Agencies to serve as a deterrent to others.

He said, "Involvement of the EFCC in the activities of NIPOST underscores the seriousness that the organization attaches to delivering high quality service as well as the pain it suffers each time a customer is defrauded in connivance with members of staff."

Baba said the fact that the forum underlined the seriousness that management of the country’s postal service regulatory body attached to the capital market, saying mail items "being generated from this market are in large volume and as such we feel embarrassed whenever we receive complaints of pilfering, non delivery and destruction of these items."

Speaking at the forum, Head of Advance Fee Fraud (a.k.a. 419) unit of the EFCC, Mr. Adegbite Olaolu explained that criminals normally "send these financial instruments in bulk to Spain, Netherland, South Africa and United Arab Emirates (UAE)."

He acknowledged that it "is a very big problem. Those involved now personally take the mails outside the borders where they post them to avoid detection. The criminals are so dynamic that they now scan through obituaries published in the newspapers, match them with names of individuals with unclaimed dividends, forge relevant documents and claim their entitlements."

Also at the forum, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone II, Mr. Azubuko Udah reflected on how 43,000 units of his Union Bank Plc shares was sold by his stock broker without his consent while he was Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL.