By Evelyn Usman
“It is not true, please cross -check again”. This were the exact words of Salami Jinad(not real names), as a cashier in one of the first generation banks returned his N500,000,000 cheque back to him, saying there was no money in the account. Quickly, he put a call across to owner of the account (names withheld) to inform him of the development.
The confused 68-year-old owner rushed to the bank at Marina , Lagos, at about 12noon Monday, where to his chagrin , he was told there was only N5000 left in his account. Meanwhile , he claimed he had over N33,000,000, 000.00.
The bank’s management then began tracing the route of what they assumed was an over sight. However at the end of investigation, the money was traced to the account of a staff of the bank, one Olaiya Olusegun, who turned out to be the 65-year-old man’s account officer and tenant. Olaiya, was subsequently arrested by operatives of the Special Fraud Unit, Milverton, Ikoyi, Lagos who were contacted.
Preliminary investigation, according to the operatives, showed that the suspect forged the signature of his landlord and withdrew without his consent. This was possible because Baba as gathered, had entrusted most transactions in his care.
Aside from forging the signature, Olusegun was alleged to have also applied for a cheque booklet in the customer’s name, and proceeded to make withdrawals without Baba’s knowledge.
“Problem started for the suspect when the victim who had at that time of incident over N30 Million in his account sent someone with a cheque of five hundred thousand to be withdrawn, and it was discovered that the account was not funded. This led to the discovery of other anomalies in the account”, according to the Commissioner of Police In-charge of SFU, Mr Chinwike Asadu.
Investigation, he said, revealed that when Olusegun’s landlord gave him genuine cheques to cash, “ he made some alterations on them , increasing the figures and pocketing the balance”
Olusegun was also alleged to have tampered with another account belonging to one Adekunle, a deceased customer of the bank.
Asadu revealed that, “ Olusegun was discovered to have applied for and collected a cheque booklet of the deceased customer four months after his death . He forged the man’s signature and withdrew the sum of N2.175 m. He also converted the sum of N7 m meant to open a fixed deposit account by the widow, in her name, to his use”.
Asadu therefore, advised banks customers to always monitor their accounts and not wholly entrust their accounts officers with such responsibility, in order to avoid being swindled by fraudulent account officers as happened in the case of the 65-year-old victim.
Bank customers, he said, should always request for SMS alerts on their accounts, pointing out that this would enable them know whenever a fraudulent transaction is made on their account.
Meanwhile, the suspect, he said, has been charged to court.