BY EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS — The Lagos State Police Command has smashed a syndicate which specialised in presenting forged Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, to bail suspects in courts, arresting its 64-year-old alleged ring leader.
The suspect, identified as Agu Ebere, was reportedly arrested by operatives of X-Squad after he reportedly presented the forged C of O to bail a retired Navy Captain arrested over N40 million alleged fraud.
The retired Navy Captain simply identified as Nabu, allegedly defrauded a company of N40 million. He was said to have been requested to get a surety who had property in Lagos, following which Agu was contacted.
Explaining how Agu met his waterloo while parading him before newsmen yesterday, spokes person for the Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide said: “The officer in charge of X-Squad suspected foul play and subjected the document to scrutiny at the Lagos State secretariat, Alausa, in the course of which it was discovered to be fake.
“When he was interrogated, he confessed to have been using such device to bail suspects from several police stations and courts at the end of which he collects money from them.”
Braide, therefore, called on Lagosians to be wary of the likes of Agu, calling particularly on financial institutions to subject Cs of O presented as collateral for loans to proper scrutiny.
When approached, the 64 year-old father of five who did not show remorse, said he succeeded in using the money realised from the shady deal to train four children in the higher institution, adding that the fifth child was in his final year.
He said he was not alone in the fake C of O business, informing that he had been into it for several years.
“I have been standing surety for over 20 years. I work hand-in-hand with some lawyers. Anytime there is need for a surety, some lawyers will contact me because they cannot stand as one for suspects. I usually collect between N30,000 and N100,000 from suspects, depending on the bail conditions.
“I operate in all magistrate courts in Lagos with the C of O but I do not go near high court because they usually carry out verification before admitting any document.”
The property which he has been laying claims to is located on 29, Alhaja Bello Street, Pipeline, Idimu, in Alimosho area of Lagos. Agu stated that he initially bought it , only for omo onile to collect it from him, disclosing that the forged C of O was prepared for him by a staff in Alausa whom he claimed had passed on, at the rate of N60,000.
Suspect abandoned by family
One of his children earlier sighted with him, was overheard telling his father that they had warned him several times to do away with the shady deal.
Asked what his family opinion on his arrest was, Agu said, “ they are all disappointed. In fact since I was arrested, none of them has been here , except my son who came to see me today(yesterday). My wife and children have never been happy with what I do. They have severally warned me to desist from it. But anytime I thought about the house rent, the children school fees and feeding, I am always tempted to continue. At least it has helped me train four of them in the university ,with the last child in his final year”, he said.
The suspect according to Braide would be charged to court for forgery.