by Jemilat Nasiru, The CableNG
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is investigating one Ishaq Abubakar over his possession of 2,886 automated teller machine (ATM) cards.
Dele Oyewale, EFCC spokesman, disclosed in a statement on Thursday that Abubakar was apprehended on August 22 by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos state.
The NCS handed over the suspect to the EFCC on Thursday for investigation.
The anti-graft agency quoted Abudulmumuni Bako, customs deputy comptroller of enforcement, as saying the suspect came from Kano state and wanted to travel via an Emirates evacuation flight to Dubai.
Bako said Abubakar concealed the ATM cards in a pack of noodles.
“The Customs Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement, Abudulmumuni Bako, who represented the Customs Area Comptroller, A. Ma’aji, said that the suspect, who claimed to have come from Kano to travel to Dubai aboard the Emirate Evacuation flight, was seen with someone who was assigned to facilitate his movement through the airport checks,” the statement read.
“Officers of the Customs service intercepted the suspect with 2,886 ATM cards and four SIM cards, which he carefully concealed in parks of Noodles.
“This raised the suspicion of the officers who insisted he should be physically and thoroughly checked after the scan machine had revealed he was carrying packs of noodles.”
AbdulRasheed Bawa, EFCC Lagos zonal head, who received the suspect on behalf of the commission, said the anti-graft agency would unveil everybody involved in the case.
He said banks and bankers may have a role to play in the case of alleged criminal conspiracy.
“There are a number of possibilities. There is an element of conspiracy, foreign exchange (FOREX) malpractices and money laundering,” he said.
“That the ATM cards are of different banks is another conspiracy and that raised a lot of questions that needed to be unravelled.”
“We are also to determine whether banks or bankers are involved in this crime. We will investigate and anyone found wanting will be prosecuted alongside the suspect.
Bawa also said Nigerians have been selling off their bank accounts to fraudsters in recent years.
“The fraudsters advise them to open bank accounts and they buy them off for as low as N10,000,” he said.
“Nigerians should know that anyone buying of their bank accounts is using it for fraudulent transactions.
“Banks also needed to be investigated because that means they aren’t carrying out due diligence such as Know Your Customers (KYC) on respective bank customers.”