ω How he dupes more victims from custody
By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
An inmate in Kuje prison, Abuja, Ifeanyi Ezenwa is in the news again over an alleged case of fraud. This time, police detectives obtained a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage where Ezenwa was seen shopping in a mall at central business district, Abuja, sometime in June 2017.
Saturday Sun had on April 15, 2017 published the story of Ifeanyi Ezenwa who is in Kuje Maximum Prison, Abuja, awaiting trial over series of fraud related cases. He was declared wanted by the police when several persons especially car dealers petitioned the police alleging that one Ezenwa bought cars from them and disappeared without paying.
In the course of investigation, the police discovered that he was operating from his cell at the Kuje prison. Four exotic vehicles were later recovered from him while his wife was also arrested at that time. Also arrested were some of the boys that he was using as middlemen.
Ezenwa was said to be coordinating dangerous criminal gangs, raking in several millions of naira much more than free men. Investigations have so far established that Ezenwa specializes in defrauding members of the public using fake bank alert. He would call a trader on the phone identifying himself as a traditional ruler, he would tell the trader that he lives out of the country and that he was going to send one of his boys to pick up goods while he would send fake bank alert to the trader’s phone.
Police investigation also revealed that he has continued defrauding unsuspecting victims despite being in prison custody. His recent successful attempt in June led to the arrest of his boy identified as Dalhatu Yahaya by detectives attached to the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abuja.
Ezenwa’s latest exploit
Recently, investigation by the police revealed that Ezenwa defrauded an orthopedic medical store opposite the National Hospital Abuja and made away with two wheelchairs and two blood pressure machines. He was said to have approached the store in company of some armed prison wardens and he bought some medical items which he paid for in cash. The staff of the store that could not differentiate between a prison warden and a mobile policeman assumed that Ezenwa was a very rich man who goes around with police protection. The next day Ezenwa called the store and made orders for two wheelchairs and two blood pressure machines and he paid them in excess of N50, 000 using a fake bank alert. He then sent one of his boys, Dalhatu Yahaya, to collect the goods from the store and the ‘excess balance of N50, 000.’
On June 30, 2017, he also sent Yahaya to Elizade Motors, where he used him in stealing a Toyota Hilux from the company, after which Yahaya made away with the vehicle, which he sold for N9 million in Kano State. Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, received a report on Ezenwa’s latest activities and deployed IRT operatives led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, who have been investigating Ezenwa in the past. They discovered that Ezenwa and his syndicate had approached the automobile company which deals on Toyota vehicles for business. Yahaya told the company that his boss, wanted to talk to them and he handed over a mobile phone to the company’s sales manager. On the phone, Ezenwa identified himself as Dr. Sam Attah and requested for the quotation of three vehicles; a Toyota Hilux, Land cruiser and Prado SUV. After a prolonged negotiation, Ezenwa agreed to their prices and on July 8, 2017, he sent a fake alert to the company showing that the sum of N38.9million has been deposited into the company’s bank account, but at that time the company, had just one of the vehicles in its showroom. As a result, they released the vehicle to Yahaya who fled with it. He didn’t take it to Ezenwa but went to Kano State, where he sold the vehicle for N9million. Ezenwa became angry and called Elizade Motors to give them information about Yahaya which led to his arrest.
At the police station, Yahaya aged 43 said that he met Ezenwa during one of his visits to the prison.
“I had gone to the Kuje prison to visit my friend, Isha Imam Geja who was a serving judge at an Abuja Upper Sharia Court. Geja introduced him to me as Igwe. It was when I was arrested that I learnt that his name is Ezenwa. The first job I did for him was at the orthopedic store where he sent me to collect two wheelchairs, blood pressure machines and N50, 000. I took the medical equipment to the prison and handed them over to a prison warden as instructed. Geja asked me to take the money to the court which was used to settle his bail.”
According to Yahaya, he did not ask for anything because he felt that he was doing his friend a favour. “They didn’t give me any money because I didn’t know that the items were bought with fake alert. If I knew then, I would have collected my own share. Later, Geja called me and told me that those items were bought with fake alert. After Geja was bailed, he called me and told me that Ezenwa wanted me to do a job for him. He asked me to go to Elizade Motors. I called him and he spoke with them. At the end of their discussion, he told them that he wanted to buy five vehicles. I don’t know how he did it but after a while, Geja called me again that the company was ready for me. I was asked to go and pick two of the vehicles. When I got to the company they gave me just one vehicle, a Toyota Hilux. I called Geja and told him that I will not submit the vehicle to Ezenwa if he doesn’t give me 30 percent of the value of the vehicle as share, they refused and I took the vehicle to Kano and sold it for N9million. I bought a car of N1.9 million and I spent the rest. I shared a large part of the money on my people since I was contesting an election. I felt that Ezenwa will not miss the money since he was already a big man in prison. Geja told me that he lives in a self contained house furnished to taste.”
Begging for mercy, Yahaya who is an indigene of Gombe State said that he got himself into trouble because of desperate desire to become a politician. “I am married to two wives which in this present economy is very difficult to maintain.
I graduated in 2010 from Legal Islamic Yola, Adamawa State where I got a diploma in Sharia and Civil law. I worked at Sharia Court Gombe as a driver and I resigned in 2013, because I wanted to contest an election as a local government chairman. I lost because I wasn’t a member of PDP. I came to Abuja the next year and I went into land property business with hope to make enough money and continue with my political ambition. I was carried away when I saw free money.”
Ezenwa, the VIP inmate and frequent outside trips
According to a warden who spoke on the condition that his name will not mentioned, Ezenwa lives like a king in the prison and goes out of the prison whenever he wishes.
“He is well known in Kuje prison and because most of the prison warden trusts him, they allow him to go out but in company of an armed warden.
He lives in a self contained room fully furnished inside Kuje prison with air conditioner, plasma TV, fridge and equipments that he normally uses for exercise. He is a well celebrated inmate, as he is said to slaughter cow often and shared amongst his loyalists.”
Saturday Sun learnt that sometime in June they took him to Abuja National Hospital for medical checkup and later proceeded to the store to buy all the things that he claimed that he needed.
On the visit to the shop, the owners of the shop made available to the police a CCTV footage showing Ezenwa’s visit to their shop in company of a male warden.
Well dressed in traditional attire with a red cap and walking stick, Ezenwa was seen in the company of a prison warden requesting for unidentified goods.
At the police station, the owners of the shop on realizing the fraud reported the case to the nearest police station. They told the police that they were very courteous to him because of his dressing and, most importantly, the armed security man that was standing beside him who unknown to them, was a prison warder.
After an electronic Blood Pressure Monitor, he collected the phone number of the receptionist and promised to order for more things later on. He particularly asked for the price of electrical Massage Wheel chair and was told that it is sold for N950, 000. He also ordered the security man (warden) to pay for all the things that he bought.
The security man (warden) was the one carrying his phones and bags and addressed him as ‘chairman sir’.
As soon as he got to the prison, he called the supermarket and ordered for the wheelchair. He requested for their account number and they got a fake alert of one million naira. He called and told them that they should give the extra money to his boy who will come and pick it up.
Convinced, they told him to send someone to pick up the goods that they assumed had been paid. It was days after one Yahaya had come to collect the goods that they realized that no money was paid into their account.
On why the police command is yet to bring him out for further investigation, our police source said that letters have been written to the appropriate authorities and they are awaiting clearance in-order to bring him out.