A hotel cleaner, 30-year-old Sylvester Ahuja, has been arrested by the Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly defrauding a company of N2m.
The 30-year-old was allegedly attempting to defraud the firm of another N500m when he was arrested in a hotel in Warri, Delta State.
According to the police, the suspect had in April 2017 hacked into the company’s email address, posing as its managing director.
He reportedly instructed the firm’s accountant to transfer N2m into his Access Bank account, which was done before the fraud was uncovered.
The police said Ahuja again used the same approach in June 2017, requesting the payment of N500m into a Zenith Bank account.
The firm was said to have alerted the police, who swooped on the suspect in 911 Hotel, Warri.
“The RRS team, in its investigations, discovered that the initial N2m was withdrawn with a debit card belonging to the suspect, Sylvester Ahuja,” a source in the police said.
However, the suspect, in his statement to the RRS officers, denied the allegations, saying his friend, a member of the National Youth Service Corps, called Emmanuel, was the culprit.
He explained that he met Emmanuel at his workplace in April 2017.
He said, “Emmanuel served in Warri and he told me sometime in April 2017 that he was stranded and that somebody was going to send money to him. He requested that I allow him use my ATM card because he couldn’t locate his. I released it to him with my PIN. He said I should alert him whenever I received credit alert on my phone and I did.
“I expected the transactions to have been completed after two days. After almost a week, I saw him and requested my ATM card; he told me he was still using it. Afterwards, I asked him again and he told me that he had misplaced it. He didn’t return the debit card again.
“After my salary was paid, I approached my bank for cash. That was when I was told that my account had issues. It was at that time that I got to know that my account was used for a fraudulent transaction. Since the incident, I have not been able to trace Emmanuel. When I tried to find him, I was informed that he was out of Warri.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said investigations were ongoing into the incident, adding that the suspect had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for further investigations.