The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over the weekend, burst a major corporate fraud when it took into custody one Alhaji Mohammed Gobir for allegedly defrauding foremost outdoor advertising company, Afromedia huge sums of money in various currencies.
According to a source at the EFCC, the mega heist fetched Gobir $3,500,000 (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand USD), N514,457,151.87 (Five Hundred and Fourteen Million, Four Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, One Hundred Fifty One Naira, Eighty Seven Kobo), $2,102,740 (Two Million One Hundred and Two, Seven Hundred and Forty USD), and 51,000 Pounds Sterling at various times.
The source, who would not want to be meantioned, told LEADERSHIP that Gobir, a 55 –year- old father of two was picked by the operatives of EFCC in the early hours of Saturday at his Ikoyi residence and is still being interrogated at the Lagos office of the anti-graft agency.
The suspect allegedly defrauded the advertising company through a phony investment deal.
The suspect was allegedly introduced to Afromedia sometime in 2008 by their Private Placement Consultants, Synergy Capital Advisory Limited, as a high network investor who was willing to inject N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) into the company, through the acquisition of shares.
Based on his touted pedigree as potential investor, Gobir cozy up to the management and in no time became chairman of the Business Development Committee of the board of directors of the company, a position which he would later used to defraud the company.
Having earned the trust of the company owners, Gobir started demanding large sum of money which he termed as business expenses to international consultants, Royal Exchange Burue in the United Kingdom in order to facilitate and secure investments from his bank in the UK, NATWEST BANK LONDON.
The company gave Gobir the sum of $1,000,000 in cash and also paid for his travel expenses on a first class return ticket to UK where he would meet with the purported investors, which investigation later revealed never existed nor were the meetings ever held.
According to the source, “on one good day after the suspect had collected several sums of money and made several trips to the UK to meet with the purported investors, the Group Managing Director of Afromedia accompanied him to the UK for another round meeting ostensibly to close the deal. But as soon as they landed in the UK, Gobir made a telephone call in which his travel companion overheard him scream aloud, saying his assets were seized by UK anti money laundering authorities. He even showed the GMD an email sent to him for the alleged seizure.
“The suspect confessed to the MD of Afromedia that his money( $250,000,000) was seized by the British Authorities 5 years earlier over allegations of money laundering and that he was currently financially handicapped and he needed a bailout in the sum of $3, 817,000 to get the European Union Money Laundering Waiver Certificate.
“The suspect later presented a “waiver certificate”, to the company and promised to pay them all the monies he had collected.”
However, up until the time of his arrest, the suspect had not paid the company a kobo.
When the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren was contacted on the authenticity of the story, he confirmed the arrest, and stated that investigation into the scam continues.