EFCC Nails Businessman in Fake Travellers’ Cheque Scandal
A Forensic Document Examiner with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Bamairiga Haruna, has told a Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, that ten thousand dollars travellers’ cheque found in possession of a businessman Mark Obisesan was a counterfeit.
He stated this while giving evidence before the court at the resumption of the trial of Obisesan and others.
Obisesan was re-arraigned alongside Olumide Mcintosh, Bolaji Bakare and Goodluck Bazunu before Justice Solebo over alleged conspiracy and forging of United State Travellers Cheque.
According to the charge, EFCC alleged that the defendant and one Josiah Ntekume, who is at large sometime in 2018, purchased and received forged United States Dollar Travelers’ cheque no GA 908-981-567
However, Obisesan pleaded not guilty to the eleven count charges levelled against him.
Led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Nkereuwem Anana, the forensic expert, stated that upon careful observation of the ten thousand dollars travellers’ cheque, he discovered that the cheque lacked the statutory security features of a cheque.
The witness explained that the travellers’ cheque was analysed with a handheld magnifier, laker microscope, video comparator 8000 and ultraviolet light.
He stated that upon completing the analysis of the ten thousand dollars travellers’ cheque, all his findings were compiled in a report and forwarded to the head of the operation for further investigation.
He further told the court that his report was extensive enough. As to generally how the currency has been produced, he said, “I personally reached out to overseas criminal investigation embassy in Abuja.”
Subsequently, the EFCC Counsel presented the report to the witness to authenticate, and after his affirmation, Anana tendered the report urging the court to admit the same as evidence.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel team, the Forensic Document Examiner said that America Express issued the ten thousand dollars cheque. In comparison, the 100 dollars genuine traveller cheque was issued by Mastercard.
He, however, said that a non-constant handler of a travellers’ cheque could not identify fake except they have previous knowledge.
Meanwhile, during the re-arraignment of the defendants, a Legal Attache with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Mr Ayotunde Awoyeni, in his testimony narrated to court that EFCC sent a letter to his office, requested from FBI to assist the commission to confirm the authenticity of all the eleven Traveller cheque.
Awoyeni said, “The eleven Traveller cheques was attached to the EFCC letter. All the letters were handed over to the Supervisory Special Agent, Alder Armstrong. Armstrong wrote an email to America Express, the authorisation centre.
“She later made phone call after a while, referred them to the earlier email sent. The officer at the other end checked the database to confirm that the numbers were not genuine.
“The response was written down in the letter, and the pictures were printed out and attached to the letter signed by Alder Amstrong on January 29, 2020.
Mr Awoyeni was, however, cross-examined by the defence counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) and other counsel representing the other defendants.
The witness after that told the court that the FBI is not a Nigeria investigation authority, but EFCC requested assistance.
He reiterated that the review conducted by the FBI is that eleven Travellers Cheque were fake.
“The FBI relied on Aelex, an American Expert. That was why we contacted Aelex to confirm the genuineness of the total documents of the travellers’ cheque. The only role the FBI played was to confirm the authenticity of the travellers’ cheques, not investigate. EFCC did.”
Upon completing the witness testimonies, EFCC applied for an adjournment to present the last prosecutor witness, the Investigating Officer.
The prayer was granted, and the matter was adjourned till May 30, 31 and June 1 to continue the trial.