- over N800m uncovered in printouts
By OKOSUN DENNIS
The operatives of Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a suspected ringleader and three others for several bank frauds in Lagos State.
The leader, an ex-banker and an architect, identified as Ajisafe Olugbenga, 47, from Osun State, allegedly masterminded various bank frauds.
Others arrested for prosecution in the case included Michael Adeoye, Ayo Olalekan, Israel Ochenehi, Adegbenro Opeyemi, Obong Udeme-Obot and Peter Ezurike.
Ajisafe, an ex-banker, who is popularly known as Harrison among his gang, was arrested on Tuesday after he was mentioned as the initiator of sims swap deal at a network provider’s outlet in Surulere, Lagos, and Abeokuta, Ogun State respectively.
Ajisafe had before his arrest on Tuesday being on the run over his involvement in a N2 million fraud in one of the old generation banks in Lagos sometimes in April, 2016.
National Daily gathered that the suspect, who is regarded as the chief distributor of roles in all the bank frauds, was alleged to have a vast network with insiders in the banks.
Ajisafe was also alleged to have exploited his vast network with insiders in the banks to procure bank details of high net worth customers.
It was further disclosed that such information he collects included account balance, account number and phone number of the owner and e-mail that the gang work on to perpetrate the fraud.
Police source disclosed to National Daily that the gang blocks or swaps the sim of the bank customer so that he or she does not receive the transaction on the account, which were mostly perpetrated on a weekend when the moneys were withdrawn in tranches.
It was further gathered that before they engage at withdrawing cash, the bank insider, who has his or her cut on every transaction, would have helped the gang to increase the customer’s withdrawal limit.
National Daily further learnt that when the suspected fraudsters were arrested, several print outs of customers details were found with the group. It was further revealed that the balances on all the print outs was over N800 million.
The fraud detection last year had instigated the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, to convoke a meeting of bank executives with analysis of strategies adopted by the fraudsters.
During the meeting, CP Owoseni was said to had mandated banks in Lagos State to raise the bar of their anti-fraud internal mechanism.
To broaden his tentacles, Ajisafe, recently allegedly recruited three suspects through which some sim cards belonging to a particular network (name withheld) were being swapped and used for some of the gangs’ bank fraud.
Two of the suspects recruited by Ajisafe for the sim swap; Shamsudeen Olalekan, 35 and Nicholas Egbele, were arrested few days before Ajisafe was picked up on Tuesday.
Also arrested with them was a staff of a popular network provider in an outlet in Abeokuta who has been assisting the gang in sim swapping while another collaborator is said to be on the run.
Olalekan and Egbede had disclosed that they were promised N20,000 for every sim card swapped for the gang.
They also disclosed to the police that Ajisafe upon supplying him their passport photographs procured national ID cards, with names of bank’s account holder. This is to be accompanied with sworn affidavit on loss of sim card.
Police sources further revealed that several details of bank customers sent via sms to Ajisafe’s line by some people believed to be banks’ insiders have been retrieved from his phone.
Confessing to the crime, Ajisafe told the police in a statement that, “About a year ago, Joe Calabar approached me that he needed someone in the Bank to increase limit (daily). I spoke to a friend Chima, who was in the Bank. Both of us met Israel at a joint in Skakhor.
“The following day, we were all to meet to give a form to Chima. I noticed that too many calls were coming on my line, so I didn’t turn up for the meeting. It was later that I heard RRS has arrested Chima.”
Confirming the incident, the Police PPRO, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said that there would be no hiding place for criminals in Lagos State adding that officers of the command are at alert to nip crime in the bud.
The four suspects have been transferred to the SCID, Panti for further investigations.