Customs intercepts Dubai-bound passenger with 2,886 ATM cards

The Nigerian Customs Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, yesterday handed over a suspect with 2,886 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Deputy Controller of MMIA, Abdulmumin Bako, also disclosed that four Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards were also found on the suspect. According to him, the suspect, one Ishaq Abubakar Abubakar, with Passport Number A08333717 from Kano State, was intercepted when he was travelling to Dubai via Emirates Evacuation flight.

“At about 11:45a.m. on August 22, at the departure hall gate ‘B’ of the MMIA, Abubakar was intercepted with 2,886 ATM cards and four SIM cards by our officers on duty. The ATM 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 the diligence of our officers, who insisted on conducting physical examination, revealed the concealment.”

He 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.

Bako pointed out that the suspect claimed that he was due for evacuation and had bought an evacuation flight ticket for his use.

The Customs legal adviser, Smart Akande, noted that handing over the suspect to EFCC showcased the agency’s collaboration, as Customs does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute.

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

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The EFCC said though it is not a crime to be with ATM cards, but for a person to be in possession of 2,886 at a time brings about lots of suspicion.

Bawa also raised fresh alarm of Nigerians selling their bank accounts to fraudsters, saying it has been the latest trend. “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.”

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