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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Driver steals N18.1m from bank

by Comfort Oseghale


Bank suspect

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A driver with a new generation bank, Segun Fatoki, is currently in the custody of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, Ikeja, for stealing $100,000 and 10,000 Euros amounting to N18.1m.

A widower and father of four, 45-year-old Fatoki allegedly stole the money while offloading bags of foreign currencies from the bullion van which he had driven earlier in the day, into the bank's vault.

PUNCH Metro gathered that on March 8 2013, Fatoki in company with four other employees of the cash management unit of the bank went on cash movement for the day. By the time they were through, the group returned to their branch at Adeyemi Alakija street, Victoria Island, with seven bags containing foreign currencies.

"We moved in two cars; I drove the bullion van and there was the escort vehicle. We visited about six banks or more that Friday before returning to the office. When we got back, I was the only person who offloaded the bags of foreign currency from the van. At the time, I didn't notice that I had left one behind in the van," Fatoki recalled.

Each of the bags contained some amount of dollars and Euros. In the bag Fatoki overlooked, was $100,000 and 10,000 Euros.

As it turned out, no other person in the team noticed the shortage and everyone went home for the weekend. Fatoki, however, had other plans. Early the next Monday, Fatoki resumed at work. He took the bullion van out of the bank premises on the pretext of refuelling it.

Safely away from the bank, he quickly made his way to a friend's house at Oworonsoki where he handed over the bag with the instruction that he would later come back for it. Unaware of its contents, his friend Jide took the bag and hid it under his bed for safekeeping while Fatoki returned to the office.

A few hours later, there was confusion at the said bank when its management discovered a bag of foreign currency was unaccounted for.

PUNCH Metro gathered that all the members of the team who undertook the cash movement were immediately arrested by the Bar Beach Police Division on March 11, 2013.

The case was eventually transferred to SARS when the division was unable to get a confessional statement out of the suspects.

Fatoki lamented, "I never meant to steal the money; I don't know what came over me. I have worked 13 years for this bank as a bullion van driver. If they didn't trust me, I wouldn't have been entrusted with such responsibility. I only came early to the bank that morning because I was anxious to refuel the car before the day's work.

"Unfortunately, one of the tyres went flat on my way. It was when I stopped to replace it with a spare, that I discovered the last bag in the car. I know I should have returned the bag. I have done it before when something of this nature happened a few months ago but instead, something came over me and I didn't"

PUNCH Metro gathered that the suspect eventually made a confessional statement last Thursday to SARS that he had indeed stolen the money.

The bag was found hidden under Jide's bed in his apartment and its contents were still intact. Jide, however, fled his home immediately he learnt of Fatoki's arrest. Apparently, he never bothered to check the contents of the bag which Fatoki had left in his custody.

There was no response to the calls and text messages sent to the phone of the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, when PUNCH Metro contacted her.