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Again, Customs seizes 5,342 ATM cards from Dubai-bound passenger

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Kano/ Jigawa Command, yesterday intercepted 5,342 ATM cards from a Dubai-bound passenger, Sanusi Abdullahi Labaran, at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. This seizure has brought the number of ATM cards intercepted by the NCS to 8,229 in one month.

The ATM cards were seized cards from two Dubai-bound passengers. The Murtala Muhamed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) have become transit routes for Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards’ smugglers. Last month, 2,886 ATM cards were intercepted from a Dubaibound passenger, Ishaq Abubakar Abubakar, by the NCS at the MMIA, Lagos.

The Customs Area Comptroller, Kano/Jigawa Command, Mr. Nasir Ahmed, explained yesterday while handing over the suspect, Labaran, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that the suspect was arrested by the personnel of the command at the airport while about to board a Dubai-bound Ethiopian Airlines with the ATM cards concealed in two sacks of beans. According to Ahmed, with the cards, the suspect can withdraw up to $1 million in a day, at the detriment of the national economy.

He said: “We handed over the suspect, his passport and other travel documents to the EFCC for further investigations.” Also, the Head of the EFCC Zonal Office comprising Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, Mr. Sanusi Aliyu, commended the service for effective surveillance to check crimes and financial crime in the airports and other points of entry in the country. Aliyu said the commission would conduct a thorough investigation.

He said: “Investigation is necessary to establish the reasons behind the acts and other persons involved in the acts. The Nigeria Customs Service has been a very good partner of the EFCC in the fight against economic and financial crimes in the country.” Aliyu pledged continued partnership with the service to check graft in the country. Also yesterday, the NCS handed over to the EFCC the suspect arrested last month at the MMIA.

The Deputy Controller of MMIA, Abdulmumin Bako, also explained that four Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards were impounded from the suspect. Bako added that the suspect, Abubakar, with passport number A08333717 from Kano State, was intercepted when he was travelling to Dubai via Emirates Evacuation flight.

He said: “About 11:45 hours on August 22, at the departure hall gate ‘B’ of the MMIA, Abubakar, with passport number A08333717 from Kano State travelling to Dubai via Emirates flight was intercepted with 2,863 ATM cards and four sim cards by our officers on duty. “The ATM cards and sim cards were carefully concealed in a noodles carton by the suspect.

The suspect claimed that one Mr. Musliu was assigned to him to facilitate his movement through the checks at the airport by one Mr. Suleiman but due to the diligence of our officers who insisted on conducting physical examination, revealed the concealment.” Bako added that the suspect and the items would be handed over to the EFCC for further investigation as directed by the Comptroller General of Customs.

The NCS deputy director added that the suspect claimed that he was due for evacuation and had bought an evacuation flight ticket for his use. The Customs Legal Adviser, Mr. Smart Akande, explained that handing over the suspect to EFCC showcased agency collaboration as Customs did not have the jurisdiction to prosecute but to arrest. He said: “What we have here is the case file, ATM cards and the noodles used in concealing the ATM cards and we are handing them over to EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.”

The Lagos Zonal Head, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the ATM cards could be used for money laundering or foreign exchange malpractices. Bawa, however, vowed that everyone involved in the conspiracy would be arrested and prosecuted by the commission.

He said: “We have taken over Ishaq Abubakar who is in possession of 2,886 ATM cards concealed in a carton of noodles together with four SIM cards. It is for us here to investigate know and whether the conspiracy is for foreign exchange malpractices or money laundering. “We are also to determine whether banks or bankers are involved in this crime. We will investigate and anyone found wanting will be prosecuted alongside the suspect.

That the ATM cards are of different banks is another conspiracy and that raised a lot of questions that needed to be unravelled. “In the last couple of years, we noticed a new trend whereby Nigerians are selling off their bank accounts to fraudsters. The fraudsters advise them to open bank accounts and they buy them off for as low as N10,000.

Nigerians should know that anyone buying of their bank accounts is using it for fraudulent transactions and banks also needed to be investigated because that means they aren’t carrying out due diligence such as Know Your Customers (KYC) on respective bank customers.”


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