A 34 year old man, Udeh Onuora Pascal suspected to be working for an international criminal organization had been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for being in possession of 108 automatic teller machine (ATM) debit cards. The arrest took place at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos while the suspect was attempting to board a Qatar Airline flight to China. The debit cards belong to five commercial banks.
NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Mr. Ahmadu Garba said that suspect was arrested in connection with suspected money laundering and was immediately transferred to the Assets and Financial Investigation Directorate of the Agency for investigation. First City Monument Bank (FCMB) had the highest number of cards with 58. Stanbic IBC Bank has 23 cards, Zenith Bank 19, Fidelity Bank 6 and Diamond Bank 2.
Mrs. Victoria Egbase, the Director of Assets and Financial Investigation said that the Agency had established a prima facie case of financial crime against the suspect and that the Chairman had ordered the transfer of the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
The suspect in his statement said that he was asked to take the cards to China. According to him, “I am not the owner of the cards. I was told to take them to China and that somebody will collect them from me when I get there. I have a shop where I sell clothes at Onitsha main market. I am also a 300 level student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State studying History and International Relations. I never knew it would lead to my arrest”. Udeh hails from Obibi in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA Ahmadu Giade said that the case should be transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation. “This is a suspected money laundering case involving cash transfer with debit cards. The EFCC will carry out further investigation on the case. We must continue to work together as a united force against criminal syndicates” Giade stated.
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