The police have arrested members of a notorious syndicate who specialised in impersonating governors and top politician to defraud unsuspecting contractors in Kaduna State.
The fraudsters were said to have defrauded a Chinese contractor of the sum of N30.6 million over a phony road project.
The suspects, Rita Waziri and Adamu Garuba, alias Hon. Ibrahim, were arrested by personnel of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
The suspects were arrested after they defrauded a Chinese engineer identified simply as Su, of the sum of N30.6million under the guise of helping him to procure a road construction contract from the Kaduna State Government.
Su, who is based in Abuja, according to sources, was approached in July 2018 by one Mayowa, a member of the syndicate who is currently serving a jail term at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, over a separate fraud case, that the Kaduna State Government was searching for contractors to rehabilitate a 14 kilometer Road in Kagoro area of the state.
In a bid to convince Su, Mayowa, brought in Garuba, and introduced him as ‘Honourable Ibrahim’, a serving member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly and the Chairman of Budget and Planning Committee of the House.
Garuba was said to have told Su, that he would have to register his company with the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority and he would pay the sum of N1.6million for the processing.
After paying the money, the suspects invited Su to the Kaduna State Government Secretariat, where they took him to a makeshift office which had photographs of members of the syndicate as representatives of the Kaduna State Government.
Rita was said to have presented herself as the Commissioner of Works and Housing, while another member of the syndicate identified as Captain, who is presently at large, presented posed as Commissioner of Finance.
It was said that the sum of N28million was collected from Su, following which they issued a fake contract awarding letter was issued to him.
Su, however, demanded a refund of his money after he became suspicious of the deal.
In order to cover their tracks, Garuba allegedly lured Su to an undisclosed location in Kaduna, where he was kidnapped and a ransom of N2 million was collected from him before he was freed.
IRT operatives stepped into the matter following a petition received from Su, and Rita, who turned out to be Garuba’s sister-in-law was apprehended leading to Garuba’s eventual arrest.
Garuba,51, said he got the sum of N15million as his share which he used in building a house in a choice area of Kaduna State.
He also disclosed that he gave the sum of N200,000 to Waziri as her own share.
He said: “I went into fraud seven years ago and it was one late Otunba Obanla from Lagos State, who introduced me to the business. I met Otunba at a hotel in Kaduna, where he was drinking and we became friends. He taught me how to defraud people looking for contracts and my first job was in 2013, where I defrauded one Alhaji Sani of the sum of N200,000.
‘’I took the money from Sani, under the guise of helping him to process the registration of his company with the Kaduna State’s Tender Board, where he intended to secure road contracts.
“In 2015, I defrauded one Alhaji Tijani, of the sum of N400,000, who also wanted to get contracts from the Kaduna State Government. I also defrauded a Lebanese national of the sum of N7 million who but this time I wasn’t the only person that executed the job and I got N1.5million as my share from the deal.
‘’I was later arrested by policemen from the Kaduna State Police Command and after my release, policemen from the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, Adeniji Adele, Lagos State arrested me again and I was made to repay the money I got from the deal to the Lebanese man.
‘’In July 2018, Mayowa, brought the Chinese man’s job. He told me that the man needed a road construction contract. We collected the sum of N1.5 million from the man for the registration of his company and then we took the man to Kaduna State Government House and we used the reception of an office to execute the job.
‘’ Rita, who is my elder brother’s wife acted as the Commissioner of Works and Mayowa enlarged Waziri’s picture and placed it (on the wall) beside that of the Governor and the President, making it look like the office of the Kaduna State Government.
‘’There is a man called Captain,who played the role of the Commissioner of Finance Kaduna State, while I acted as the Honourable member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, but Mayowa was the facilitator.
‘’We told the Chinese national that the (state) governor wanted him to rehabilitate a 14 kilometer road at Kagoro area of Southern Kaduna, and he was to construct a seven kilometer road first, which will cost N2 billion, and we told him that we were going to get five per cent of the total cost as our share immediately he is mobilized for the contract.
‘’We also showed him contract agreements between his company and the Kaduna State Government, and he paid us the sum of N28 million. He stopped paying us more money when he realized that he had been defrauded.
“I got N15million as my share because I was the person that organized the office that was used for the job and Mayowa got N13million because he has other people including the Captain to settle. I was the person that settled Waziri and I gave her N200, 000. I used the rest of my money to develop my landed properties in G.R.A, Kaduna State.
‘’I also built a three bedroom flat in the same G.R.A. I want to quit this business and I am ready to sell all my houses so that I could raise money to pay back the money I took from the Chinese man. I feel very ashamed of myself that I got myself into this mess now that I have a grandson and I don’t want him to know that I am a fraudster.”
Rita, a native of Kagoma area of Kaduna State, said she was lured into the syndicate by her brother in-law(Garuba).
She said: “I am a trader and I sell white yam flour; I am married with a 7-year-old child. I have only school certificate. I have never done this before and it was my brother in-law that got me involved into this business.
‘’My brother in-law is the younger brother to my husband and he was the person that took me to where I snapped the picture at Banawa shopping complex in Kaduna State.
‘’I was also present at the office where I introduced myself as the Commissioner of Works and after we exchange pleasantries I told them that I would not be staying around and I left in Garuba’s car to my house.
‘’Later that day, Garuba gave me the sum of N200, 000 and he didn’t tell me that the money was from the deal I did for him and I thought the money was just a gift. I didn’t know that the Chinese man was defrauded of the sum of N30.6million.”