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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Only Job I Know Is How To Defraud People –'Custom Officer'


Anyone who comes across Ramoni Raji,
on his grey-coloured Nigeria Customs
Service uniform and the rank of Deputy
Superintendent on his shoulders, would
pass him for a real custom officer.

Unfortunately, the reverse is the case
for the 60-year-old man whose stock-in-
trade is to swindle prospective buyers
of auctioned goods from the customs.
His dirty deals blew open after
operatives of SARS in Lagos got wind of
his nefarious activities after he
swindled a middle-aged woman, Mrs.
Kikelomo Godson of the sum of N7m
when she attempted to procure some
seized goods from the customs.

SARS operatives used a man who set
him up and they ended up in their net.
The suspect told Crime Alert during an
interview that he took to fraud since
1978 owing to his inability to get
engaged in a better means of livelihood.

He said “I have been a fraudster for
over 34 years and this is the only job I
know how to do. Before I went into
fraud, I tried some other jobs but they
weren’t providing enough money that
will fend for me my family . I started
using this Custom uniform last year
when I and one Chief Doati decided to
form a syndicate that could defraud
prospective buyers of auctioned goods.

You know lots of people are competing
to buy Customs auctioned goods
because they are very cheap.
“So, I and Chief Doati thought it wise to
swindle prospective buyers. First, I
bought a uniform from Customs
Training School, Ikeja, and I sewed it at a
tailoring shop in my area in Ipaja. Chief
Doati’s job was to get our victims. He
will tell them that he has connections in
the Nigeria Customs Service that could
help facilitate the easy buying of
auctioned goods. Then, he would link
them to me .

“All I needed to do was to take them to a
warehouse in any of the Ports and also
at the Federal Operations Unit in Ikeja. I
will then show them goods and if they
indicate interest, I would give them
prices for the goods and ask them to
pay part of the money so that I can start
processing the papers for them in
Abuja. My victims usually pay me as fast
as they could because I normally tell
them that there are other people biding
for the goods . I get the money from
them and then disappear into thin air.

That would be the last they would hear
from me.”
When asked the number of his
unsuspecting victims, the suspect kept
mute refusing to divulge names of
people he has duped, but he agreed to
have swindled Mrs. Godson of her
money but added that he took only
N3m from her . “She came to me last
August at Apapa Warf and asked if I
could help her buy auctioned goods
from the Customs. I told her that the
Customs wanted to sell two trailer loads
of rice that was impounded from an
importer...

“But last week, I got a call from one of
my scouts who usually get customer for
me and he said some people were
looking for textile materials seized by
the customs and asked if I can help
them get it for them. So I agreed to meet
with him. I didn’t know it was a set up. I
met with the party and told them to pay
N5m for the goods and they gave me a
First Bank Cheque for N5m. I was
arrested by the police who were
waiting for me at the banking
premises.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Godson who spoke with
Crime Alert on the phone over the
incident said she has been hospitalized
since the incident occurred. She also
said she borrowed some of the money
Raji took from her.
“They opened their gate for him and he
walked around the premises like a
genuine officer. After getting the prices,
I then contacted one of my business
partners in Port-Harcourt to lend me N4
million so that I would pay for the
goods pending when Raji would
process the papers. And the man
brought the money for me. I even went
to pick the man from the airport with
him and he gave a cheque of N4 m.

After he got the money, he disappeared.
He stopped picking my calls and I made
several efforts to see him but I couldn’t.
I fell sick over the lose and the man who
provided the money for the business
have been on my neck ever since .”

From what we gathered
from sources, Mr. Raji will appear in
court soon.

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