By Zainab Iwayemi
A gang of over ten fraudsters who impersonated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, under the guise “CBN Helping Hands Investment Scheme”, has been arrested in Lagos, in a joint operation with the Edo State Command.
The arrest was made following a formal report to the police by the CBN, stating that the group members – Solomon Osiga Ezemede, the head of the syndicate, alongside Musa Mukarat and Solomon Musa and others – had several times impersonated management and staff of the bank in addition to deceiving some members of the public to invest money with the CBN, in exchange for doubling the invested amount within twenty-four hours.
In carrying out the illegal activities, the group reportedly made use of fake CBN Facebook accounts, fictitious mobile numbers, fake online profiles, and paid testimonials to induce members of the public into paying money into various bank accounts.
According to Nigerian police, many digital assets seized from the syndicates are currently being subjected to forensic analysis by the cyber intelligence units of the Nigeria Police and the CBN.
Meanwhile, the suspect, Solomon Ezemede, on December 30, 2020, was remanded in prison on a four count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, fraudulent act and stealing and awaits trial scheduled for March 3, 2021.
Osita Nwanisobi, the acting director, Corporate Communications Department, said, “The move was necessary because the syndicate had succeeded in defrauding many victims, using the logo, seal, general signage, and brand of the CBN.”
He noted that complaints largely based on funds lost to fraudsters who claimed to be agents of the CBN seeking to assist in obtaining loans from the central bank was received by the bank.
Nwanisobi, therefore, cautioned members of the public to be wary of fraudsters, parading themselves as staff or agents of the CBN. He also advised that members of the public report suspected cases of fraud to the nearest police station to checkmate the activities of fraudsters. In addition, he warned those perpetrating in fraud using the name of the bank to desist from such nefarious acts.
Frontpage September 19, 2019