The Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI has issued certificates of outstanding performance to some operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The beneficiaries are officers who participated actively in the arrest of Nigerian fraudsters that had been on the wanted persons list of the FBI.
Kenny Ivy, the FBI Legal Attache to the US Embassy in Nigeria who presented the certificates on behalf of the agency said the FBI is impressed with the degree of professionalism shown by the EFCC, particularly in the arrest of a Nigerian fraudster, Raheed Mustapha who escaped from the United States and took refuge in Nigeria after defrauding an American company of about $800,000.
He thanked the Commission for its efforts and said the FBI looks forward to a continuous working relationship with the EFCC. Also present at the event was his assistant, Jennifer Dent. Dent who has been in Nigeria for the past two years said she has been working on the case with the Commission since she came. She expressed appreciation for the support she received from the Commission.
The 35 year old Mustapha was alleged to have conspired with four other persons including his cousin also based in the United States in 2006, to obtain checks totalling $800,000 USD from the 401(k) Plans ( pension scheme ) to which they are not entitled.
Once employed by the ACS, a Pension Fund Administrator in the US , Mustapha informed his conspirators how to obtain from the ACS default personal identification numbers “PINS” for the 401(K) Plans Accounts of the 401(K) participants. He provided them with information as to how to change the mailing addresses associated with those accounts, and how to obtain distribution checks from those accounts. The FBI discovered this and placed an arrest warrant on him before he finally fled to Nigeria.
The FBI however contacted the EFCC which eventually trailed and arrested him on 12th March,2011 in his father’s residence in Lekki area of Lagos where he was hiding.
Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Commission’s Lagos Zonal Headquarters, on Tuesday , EFCC Chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri who was represented by the Head of Operations, Zubairu Muazu expressed appreciation for the commendation by the FBI and assured the American authorities of greater cooperation in the concerted efforts to rid both the two countries of criminal elements.
The suspect and another are both awaiting extradition to the US to face trial. Three other Nigerian fugitives had earlier been handed over to US law enforcement agents. While George Ubeozor was extradited in 2008, Sunday Adebisi Adegbesan was handed over in 2009 both to the authorities in New York . The Latest to suffer the same fate, Ehkator was indicted in the U.S. District court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on November 3, 2010 over a $32 million internet collections scam.
The suspect was arrested in Benin City , Edo State in August 2010 by EFCC operatives following top level exchange of information between U.S. Law enforcement agents and the EFCC over the activities of a trans-border ring of internet scammers headed by Ekhator.
The extradition process filed through the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was eventually approved by a federal high court in Lagos on July 26th, 2011.
The suspect was however flown to the U.S. on Wednesday August 10th and handed over to a District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania the following day by an officer of the EFCC.