Police have arrested one suspect, Terhemba Tsuum, 39 for impersonating the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello and defrauding unsuspecting public of N38 million.
Parading the suspect, last week at FCT Police Command, PPRO, Anjuguri Manzah said that upon report of the matter, “the Police launched an investigation, and with the deployment of modern technology, we were able to trace the suspect to Benue State, where he was arrested and brought back to the FCT to face the law”.
The Command Public Relations Officer seized the opportunity to advise FCT residents, and indeed all Nigerians to always “be vigilant and more conscious of people they go into business with. Always verify, even if it means going to the office to check. Do a proper check before parting with your money because money is not easy to come by. Ensure you are dealing with the right persons, especially when it comes to the issues of land.
He assured the residents: “This is a pointer that the FCT Police Command is alive to its responsibilities and will broaden its investigation and ensure that those who are carrying out nefarious activities will be arrested and charged to court to face the wrath of the law”.
In a chat with the media, the suspect confessed to committing the crimes and regretted that he was unaware of the gravity of the offence, even as he also disclosed that he has since refunded almost all the monies to his victims, except about five million naira, including N1.950 million, belonging to one Mimi, who reported the case to the Police for failure to return her money.
According to him, he returned the monies because his mind was “shaking” and he “could not bear it.” The only money that is remaining is this girl’s (Mimi) own, N1.950 million. Another man gave me N1.3 million, but I paid him back only N300, 000.00, with the hope when business improves, I would return their monies.
“It was when I knew I was doing something wrong that I started returning all the monies to them. I have been in Abuja close to five years now, but I had not always been in this business. I went into the agent business because things were not going well.
“I started using the minister’s name because I thought it is the person people would be convinced, not because I have any contact or any dealing with him. I don’t even know him, he doesn’t even know me.”
On how he was able to convince the people to part with their money, the 39 year old holder of a Diploma in theatre Arts, disclosed that as an agent, his job was to “connect those who have land to sell with buyers and get five percent.”
He further stated: “I meet them and tell them that I have someone that will help them to get land, so those interested would give me their acknowledgement papers, while some will give me money to get them the acknowledgements from AGIS.
“Some, I paid and gave them the acknowledgements, that is why I totalled the whole money and said it is N38 million. Some brought their old acknowledgements, so I minuted on the acknowledgements myself as if I am the minister (FCT), just to convince them, but I did not take them (acknowledgements) to anybody because I don’t have any link with anybody in any of the offices who deals with allocating land.
“Everything I did alone. I don’t have any link with anybody. The total money, when I calculated it was N38 million. Though I didn’t collect the money at one time, people were giving me the money one after another at different times.
When pressed further to name names of possible collaborators, he said: “what I am telling you, I am not lying. The condition I am in now it is better I tell the whole truth. I had not been in this business throughout my close to five years’ stay in Abuja, I started it in October, last year, while I met Mimi around December, 2017.
Speaking further on his mode of operation, the suspect said, displaying a list of monies collected: “this paper you are seeing here, nobody paid me a single naira that is listed here. To God who made me, I sat alone and wrote this so that I will use it to convince people to pay me. If I am lying, God should do with me anything He wishes as far as this list is concerned”.
On how he gets land application forms, which he uses in deceiving his victims, he revealed that one Emmanuel ThankGod, a fellow agent in Abuja, whom he claimed he doesn’t know more than his name, collects about two of the forms for him.
Chief Press Secretary
to FCT Minister