Local News

Lady arrested by EFCC in Makurdi over N1600 fraud

On Wednesday, 6th May, 2020, Ato Mnena Anita was picked at her spot Star Shawarma, Kashim Ibrahim Road Makurdi, the Benue State capital because her accountant called to complain that the transfer of N1.5k made by a customer, who happens to be a staff of the EFCC for the delivery of Parfait Yoghurt was not received.

According to Mnena, she was told at the EFCC Makurdi Zonal office that the calls embarrassed their staff and is very bad to her image.

What Actually Happened

On 9th April, 2020, a staff of the EFCC Zonal office in Makurdi ordered for Parfait Yoghurt. The order was for N1.5k and delivery fee of N100 was charged by the agent, bringing the total cost at One Thousand Six Hundred Naira.

The product was delivered same day. The Star Shawarma Cashier on duty billed the transaction for One Thousand Five Hundred Naira (1.5k). The company was therefore, expecting One Thousand Five Hundred Naira alert and not N1.6k.

April ended and came May. On 6th May, 2020, Mnena was called to her spot that her attention was needed to verify the problem of One Thousand Five Hundred Naira transfer.

Upon getting there, she was told that the transfer was done on 9th April; that a lady (customer) ordered for Parfait Yoghurt, sold for 1.5k and it was charged 1.6k -100 delivery fee.

“All along they were expecting a transfer of 1.5k and not 1.6k. It looks the customer was familiar with the person who did the delivery and the person who made it. And so they kept reminding her about the transaction.

“The customer called the accountant two days ago that she made the transfer and they are saying they have not seeing the money? The accountant said he will verify. Meanwhile the product was delivered on that 9th April.

“Meanwhile, my accountant had brought to my notice that a customer has been calling on 1.6k transfer. I told them to call Stanbic IBTC, our bankers to confirm. Stanbic said there was no transaction. We decided to check our Access Bank account and Access confirmed the transaction. I was briefed and I said we needed to call the customer and apologise.

“The accountant was guttery that he has been threatened of arrest and I opted to call myself. I called the customer with my number. She did not pick.

The accountant called immediately and she picked. I collected the phone and pleaded with her that there was a mix up of 1.5k and 1.6k and I apologised for the error.

But she insisted that the accountant must report to EFCC office. I asked her why and she said I had no right to ask why the accountant would have to report to the their office and that when they come for us we will know.

“I said okay, we have apologised and don’t know what else to do. Barely 10 minutes later I saw over 10 armed men in a bus. I was seated there. None of them spoke to me.

They only said they were shutting down the place. At that point, I told them that we are learned persons and should act as such. They came without saying good afternoon, which I think is not the proper thing to do.

At that point, they identified themselves. When I asked for warrant of arrest one of the officers asked me why dare I asked for warrant of arrest? But I thought it was the right thing to do when going for arrest.

“So, we left for EFCC office. This was about 3pm to 3:30pm; we were taken straight to the Zonal head office; myself, my manager and another staff. The zonal head asked for explanation.

My manager first spoke, then I spoke because the other staff was not in the know when I called to apologise.
“In the course of my explanation I told him (the Zonal head) that we were afraid of reporting to their office because we were threatened.

He then asked if I was trying to insinuate that she (the customer) is trying to use her office to intimidate us? He went on that I was stupid if I am thinking in that line and it was insult to the EFCC. He repeated same thing and said I should be detained for that.

He said what we did was very bad: That we embarrassed their staff by calling her to claim we hadn’t got an alert which is very bad to her image. There and then, I apologised again, that I was deeply sorry if my explanation angered him.

“They asked me to write my statement but I pleaded to be allowed time to write because I couldn’t write my statement immediately; I was shivering and they gave me 30 minutes.

I was able to write my statement, after the 30 minutes, after my manager had written his’; the third person did not write because he was not in the know of anything.

The manager and the third person were later released. I was detained and later released at about 9:30pm or 10:00pm and asked to return today (Thursday, 7th May) at 10am, which I did with the manager,” Mnena narrated.

Today At EFCC Zonal Office Makurdi

In the morning of Thursday, 7th May, Mnena said, she reported at the EFCC Makurdi Zonal office. She said she was interrogated on among other things, why the news is on the social media.

“I told them that yesterday I did not have access to my phone (after the arrest) and my people because I went home late; I had severe Migraines and went to bed. This morning I wake up late and rushed there without phone.

So it couldn’t have been me posting things on the social media. They seized my phone yesterday and I had to wear bathroom sleepers and was kept in one cockroach infested room even with my asymathic condition,” she narrated.

I Do Not Know The Customer In Question
On a personal note, Mnena said she does not know the customer in question. “All along, we kept talking about a customer’s transaction. I didn’t know it was a guy or a lady until I called to apologise,” Mnena said.

Although she acknowledged dealing with customers directly, when disposed, Mnena nevertheless said her absence does not stop business activities.

Doing Business Comes With Challenges
“With business, you face challenges everyday. There was a day one of my staff went to NAF Base for delivery and was subjected to all kinds of inhuman treatment.

He was asked to pick waste materials around and after that frog jump; from frog jump other unimaginable things happened. The man who made the order felt bad but that happened.

“There was a day I sent a message to the Commissioner of Police, on the iltreatment we received while we were closing from work and he has not replied me to this moment.

The good thing is that I sent the message on WhatsApp and I saw that he read it,” Mnena told me.
Mnena’s Feeling, After The Arrest
“I feel so very bad, moreso, that I have never had any criminal case against me; no not attempted fraud,” Mnena said.

Meanwhile, her manager has been asked to report back on Monday, for further interrogation. Mnena is told to expect call from the anti graft agency should the need arise.

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