ECONOMIC and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigators have arrested a man impersonating its chairman Ibrahim Magu who has been using the false identity to blackmail Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) officials.
Currently under investigation for how it has been spending government funds, the NDDC is believed to have a haven for corruption and several of its officials are being investigated. Cashing in on the matter, a man identified as Robert Swem Terfa, stole the identity of acting EFCC chairman Mr Magu and has been using it to blackmail NDDC officials, asking them for bribes to kill phantom corruption investigations pending against them.
After news of the scam emerged, Mr Terfa was arrested at Juanita Hotel in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where he was holding a meeting with some NDDC directors. Apparently, he presented a phoney offer to them, saying he would remove their names from the list of individuals being investigated by the EFCC.
Mr Terfa, who claimed to be representing the acting EFCC chairman, reminded the NDDC officials of the forensic audit of the commission’s accounts ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari and assured them that their names would be removed from the audit. He has now been taken into custody and will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
In a related development, a daring syndicate of Internet fraudsters, who used a cloned EFCC document to defraud an American lady, has also been smashed. The four-man gang was nabbed in a coordinated operation in Delta State by the Benin zonal office of the Commission.
Arrested members of the gang include Onoghere Romina (aka Pastor Joseph Romeo), Emoregan Fidelis Kelly (aka Williams Brian), Sunday Obi (aka Stuart Symington.) and Remember Akpobome. They were arrested sequel to intelligence obtained from their victim, Patricia Dewan Walker, a 60-year-old American.
They are alleged to have defrauded Ms Walker of an aggregate sum of $850,000 in a scam over the last two years. In 2017, the syndicate forwarded forged documents and letters, including a fake letter of guarantee from the EFCC and purportedly signed by the Mr Magu and one Yomi Balogun who they claimed is the head of operations, Lagos.
In the said letter, the syndicate told their victim to pay $157,000 in order to receive her consignment of boxes in the custody of the EFCC. They claimed that the sums of $10m and another $3m deposited in the EFCC’s offices.