The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, alerted the public on new tricks used by car thieves to dispossess unsuspecting Nigerians of their vehicles, The Sun reports.
The Commission said the new tricks was discovered during investigations into allegations of crime levelled against one Babatunde Oni, AKA Olu Daniel and Oni Daniel Oluwatope.
The new tactics, according to EFCC, involves issuance of dud cheques and going to banks to deposit the money in the dealer’s or individual accounts. The car thieves would then return to the dealer or individual with a seemingly authentic bank deposit slip, with a bank stamp on it; only for the bank to call the dealer, later, that the cheque bounced because of insufficient money in the depositor’s account.
The agency, in a statement by its Ibadan Zonal Office, stated further that the cheques the car thieves have been issuing were stolen, which, on many occasion, the cheque owners would have made official complaints to the police.
Babatunde, who hails from Odo Eri, Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, was recently arrested by the Ibadan zonal office of the Commission for alleged conspiracy, stealing and issuance of a dud cheque, following a petition received from Mr. Kamoru Yekini on November 21, 2018. The petitioner had alleged that on October 16, 2018, two men approached him at his shop at Iwo town, Osun State to indicate interest in purchasing a 2006 Toyota Matrix car he displayed for sale. After negotiation on the price, the two parties agreed on N1,580,000. and a post-dated First Bank cheque was issued supposedly to cover the cost. The cheque bore the name Rabiu Bamidele Lateef as the account oner.
But, in order to veil his criminal intention, Babatunde, according to the petition, acted as a driver to the other suspect (now at large), with whom he came for the negotiation. The other man falsely introduced himself as the account owner and a Doctor at Bowen University, Iwo. Having agreed on the price, Bamidele left the scene to ‘deposit’ the money and later, came back with a copy of the deposit slip, as evidence of payment of the agreed sum.
The car dealer reluctantly released the vehicle and the Custom Duty papers, with the hope that he would contact the ‘buyer,’ through his telephone number if any issue arose. It was not until the following day when he got a call from his bank that the cheque was returned unpaid; due to insufficient funds in the account.
All efforts he made to get the suspects were unsuccessful since all the information given were false.
That led him to petition the EFCC for assistance. The Commission swung into action on receipt of the complaint and recovered the car in Abuja where it was already sold to a lady for N1.8million. Further investigations tracked the car back to Babatunde, who was later arrested in his hideout in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
While Babatunde was already in EFCC’s custody, another complainant surfaced; with a similar issue, saying on September 7, 2018 two men came to his filling station around Mokola, Ibadan, Oyo State to negotiate for a 2007 Toyota Avensis car he displayed.
He further alleged that after the negotiation, they agreed for N2million. Again, Bamidele immediately issued a cheque of N2million to pay for the car.
Babatunde was said to have acted as the driver to a ‘big man’ he came with. He also took the cheque to the seller’s bank to ‘deposit’ the sum, and came back with a deposit slip.
While they were already testing the car, the car dealer told the suspects to hold on for him to confirm the status of the deposit from his account officer.
But before he could do that, Bamidele and his partner zoomed off with the car since the car keys and papers had already been handed over to them. The cheque with which he made the ‘payment’ was later returned unpaid and all efforts made to contact the men were unsuccessful.