& Akpos Akpokona
01 August 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – AN attempt by a suspected international crude oil syndicate based in Nigeria to defraud a Minister from the Republic of Benin of $15.5 million (about N25 billion) under the pretext of selling crude oil to him, has landed five members of the group in trouble.
The five fraudsters, including a former secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, western zone, (name withheld) were arrested in a hotel at Effurun, near Warri, Delta State, while holding a meeting with a delegation from Republic of Benin, sent by the Minister to discuss the business. Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Stephen Kor confirmed the arrest of members of the syndicate in a briefing.
“The syndicate specialises in defrauding individuals and companies with fake Nigerian Navy and NNPC letter headed documents for clearance of vessel.”
It was gathered that members of the syndicate who usually posed as top Navy and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, officials contact unsuspecting companies and persons, claiming that they would bunker crude oil to them.
Commander Kor said: “Following a tip off, NNS Delta special patrol team at about 10:00 on Monday, July 30, arrested five suspected fraudsters that specialise in using fake Nigerian Navy and NNPC letter-headed documents to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
The arrest was carried out at one of the hotels in Warri, where the suspects were to hold a meeting with some other hapless victims.
“This arrest is part of the Nigerian Navy’s efforts at curbing illegalities in its areas of operations,” Commodore Stephen Kor explained.