Soni Daniel, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the head of the Kirikiri Prisons, Emmanuel Oluwaniyi, a Deputy Controller and another top official of the Nigeria Correctional Services, Hemeson Edson Edwin, for aiding a convicted fraudster to transact several business deals worth over $1 million from inside.
The two top officials, according to the Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, were arrested on Monday for helping a convict, Hope Olusegun Aroke, who is serving a 24-year jail term, to escape from the Prisons and be lodged at the Police Hospital also in Lagos under the pretext of being ill and using that excuse to freely transact numerous deals and attend social events in the town.
The statement made available to Vanguard on Tuesday said that while Emmanuel Oluwaniyi is the Controller, Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Hemesen Edwin is in charge of the medical facility, who gave the convict the referral letter that enables him to get out of the prison as a patient in need of urgent medical attention at the Police Hospital when he was not sick in the first place.
Vanguard gathered that the two men had already given what EFCC describes as ‘useful information’ to the Commission about their alleged involvement in the crime.
It will be recalled that Aroke, also known as H.Money, had masterminded a mega scam to the tune of over $1m scam.
He committed the alleged crime from prison, using a network of accomplices.
Aroke was one of the two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC towards the end of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos, following a tip-off.
Aroke, who hails from Okene in Kogi State, had claimed to be a student of Computer Science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia.
However, investigations by the Commission revealed Aroke as the arrowhead of an intricate web of an internet fraud scheme that traverses two continents. When Aroke was arrested, a search conducted by EFCC operatives on his apartment led to the recovery of several items such as laptops, iPad, traveling documents, cheque books, flash drives, internet modem, and three exotic cars – a Mercedes Benz Jeep, One 4Matic Mercedes Benz Car and a Range Rover Sport SUV.
He was eventually convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer and forgery.
He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on each of the two counts.