THREE men impersonating as officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission,(ICPC) have been arrested in Uyo, the Awka Ibom State capital.
A statement issued by EFCC stated that the trio Norbert Rampa, 51, Patrick Essien, 50, and Gabriel Daniel, 32 were was arrested by the Uyo Zonal Office of the Commission.
“The trio along with other members of their team had on September 19, 2018, paid a courtesy visit to the Commission’s Uyo office, under the auspices of Grassroots Development Advocacy Initiative (GDAI) which they claim was a registered organisation with the National Anti-corruption Coalition (NACC),” Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of EFCC said in the statement.
“During the visit, its national director, Essien spoke extensively on the several trainings that the members had gone through to ensure grassroots engagements in budget processes, aimed at sustaining the fight against corruption, while Rampa who introduced himself as the director of programmes of the group spoke on their robust collaboration with the ICPC.”
Uwujaren said, while they requested they are granted operational powers, the Zonal head of the commission, Garba Dugum denied their request, and asked they rather reported all perceived corrupt practices to the commission.
“The team obviously paid no heed to Dugum’s advice as Rampa, Essien and Daniel, who are the leaders, were discovered to have embarked on various levels of forgery and impersonation in a criminal act of extortion from unsuspecting members of the public, whom they deceive and intimidate with the claim that they are in a joint operational task force with both the EFCC and the ICPC,” he said.
Trouble, however, started for them when they tested their luck on one Aloysius Udobong, an elderly retiree for intimidation and extortion.
Their move on Udobong, Uwujaren said, failed, “forcing them to send a baseless petition against him to the EFCC, concocting allegation of being a corrupt retired public servant against him.”
He explained that when Udobong was invited for questioning, he made allegations of forgeries and impersonation against the trio, buttressing them with documented evidences.
“According to Udobong, sometime in 2018, the syndicate issued a letter of investigation to him, purportedly emanating from the EFCC and attempted to extort money from him, but when they discovered that he wasn’t willing to comply with their financial demands, they left, but returned to him in 2019 with more letters, this time, listing his assets and properties and threatening to prosecute him if he refused to dole out money to them.”
Udobong tendered some of the letters of invitation for investigation which he claimed were all personally delivered to him by Rampa. This instantly turned the table against them and they became suspects.
The forged letters furthermore, pushed EFCC operatives to carry out a search on the apartments of the trio. The outcome of that search strongly established that Essien, Rampa and Daniel had been impersonating the EFCC and ICPC in the state and beyond.
Forged documents recovered from their apartments included fake EFCC letterhead papers, ICPC operational jackets, forged identity cards of National Anti-corruption Coalition of ICPC/EFCC Partnership, various forged letters to individuals and organisations purportedly coming from EFCC and ICPC. Others were forged investigation letters to First Bank of Nigeria, handwritten drafts of fake petitions against individuals, forged investigation letters from the suspects to their accuser, Udobong and a desktop computer.
Also included were a fake “National Anti-Corruption Coalition (NACC) of ICPC/EFCC Partnership,” letterhead paper that captured Norbert Rampa as “Head, Intelligence Investigator/Operations,” a forged EFCC letterhead paper with the Commission’s logo on the left hand side and the coat of arms on the right hand side and forged identity cards.
The suspects are currently providing useful information to the Commission and will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded, Uwujaren said.