PRESS STATEMENT ON BREAKING OF CYBERCRIME SYNDICATE BY NIGERIAN CUSTOMS SERVICE IN COLLABORATION WITH ICPC HELD IN CUSTOMS HEADQUATERS, ABUJA ON THURSDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2012.
Gentlemen of the Press,
It gives me pleasure to brief you on the recent breakthrough recorded by the Service in investigating some criminals using the Cyber space to commit various offences against the Nigeria Customs Service and unsuspecting innocent Nigerians.
2. You may be aware that the Service conducted two (2) Recruitment exercises between 2009 and 2012. Long after the conclusion of these exercises, the Service has received numerous complaints from prospective applicants who claimed that they were lured into payment of various sums of monies.
3.These complaints claimed that they got information about Customs Recruitment from the purpoted websites of the Nigerian Customs Service. some got their contacts from a facebook page allegedly belonging to the Comptroller General of the Customs.
4. Preliminary investigations by the Service revealed that the website and facebook pages used to perpetuate these activities were faked. The Service therefore exposed these activities warning job-seekers not to allow themselves to be duped. The service therefore swung into action to bring the criminals to book.
5. The testimonies we got from various victims of the scam and our analysis that investigation of the case must go beyond conventional methods associated with common crimes. The use of fake websites, creation of fake facebook accounts and high level collusion of Commercial Banks necessitated the use of cutting edge technology to catch up with the evil perpetrators.
6. The Service therefore deployed our forensic experts to launch investigations in collaborations with experts in Canada and United States to crack the syndicate.
The investigation revealed the following:
a) The designing and operations of the fake websites “nigeriacustomsservice.net“, “nigeriacustomsservice.info” and many facebook accounts in the name of the Comptroller General of Customs were masterminded by the Principal Suspect, known as Umoh Moses or Prince Moses. Prince Moses was arrested alongside 3 others viz;
-Abua Steve and
b) these suspects operated a company known as BIIS at No 110 Tetlow road, owerri, Imo State. The company was traced by forensic experts operating from Canada and USA.
c) The fake sites were hosted by an Ibadan based company known as Skyskay System Limited, with one Kayode Abiodun Ogundele as the mastermind.
d) That a commercial Bank account was opened using the account name ‘Customs Wuse’ in Aba, Abia state which they used to defraud job seekers. A Manager of the bank, with four other staff was arrested for highlevel collusion and failure to discharge their obligations to KYC.
e) Five laptops, five mobile set and one central processing unit were retrieved from the suspects for further forensic analysis to determine the extent of their involvement in this crime.
8. In a related case, two serving corps members, Sanusi Abubakar and Hassan Nura Maiyaki were also arrested here in Abuja by our operatives in money for job scandal. They were lured into Abuja by our operatives to collect the sum of N400,000 for two customs recruitment letters. Their victims, who were to have been defrauded in Sokoto, insisted that payment for the letters would only be made after sighting the original copies. A trap was set for them, when they came to Abuja to consummate the deal before their arrest.
9. In yet another case, one Hassan Haruna duped 3 job applicants of a total sum of three million naira in the guise of helping them secure employment in Customs. Hassan was arrested in Apapa when he walked into a trap set for him by our operatives.
10. I want to acknowlegde the high level of support we enjoined from the Chairman ICPC, Barrister Ekpo Nta who graciously seconded some of his operatives who participated in this investigation. I must commend their commitment to painstaking approach which has led the Service to these discoveries.
11. For the benefit of all, we also like to alert Nigerians that these web scammers do not limit their activities to recruitment alone. They also use on-line platforms to extort money from victims in exchange for fake auction papers, contracts and other business deals.
Another recent trend is dropping the names of Principal aides of the Comptoller General as baits for unsuspecting victims. Members of the public are to note that there is no service provided by the Customs that requires payment of un-receipted facilitating fees of any kind.
let me emphasize that the process of recruitment and contracts in customs fulfils all requirements of fairness and transparency prescribed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Thank you for your attention.
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