A sales representative of an online mobile phone store based in Ikeja, Lagos, Adewoto Matthew, got the beating of his life recently when he refused to collect fake naira notes from a suspected fraudster, Ebuka Eze.
It was learnt that Eze, who is a customer to the owner of the store, had placed an order for four phones worth N900,000 on May 2, 2019.
The phones are Samsung S7, iPhone X, iPhone 7 plus and iPhone XR.
It was gathered that Matthew, who also works with the firm as a dispatch rider, went to Ajah to deliver the phones to Eze.
Our correspondent learnt that Eze paid Matthew N400,000 and promised to pay the balance at a later date.
He was said to have called his boss on the phone to notify him of the payment plan and collected the money after the boss agreed.
It was learnt that Matthew discovered that the notes were fake while he was counting them and raised the alarm.
Eze, who was in company with two others, reportedly beat Matthew up and fled with the phones.
“When I got to Ajah that day, the customer (Eze) asked me to meet him near an eatery. A man came to pick me up there and said his boss, who wanted to buy the phones, asked him to bring me to his place. I gave the phones to the so-called boss and he started checking them.
“As I was counting the money, I noticed they were fake N1,000 notes. I told him (Eze) that the money was fake and that I could not collect it. He started beating me and later zoomed off in a Camry car with two other persons who were with him.”
The incident was reported at the Ajah Police Division and a manhunt was launched for Eze by the police.
He was arrested on May 27, 2019 alongside one Emmanuel Obi, whom he reportedly gave one of the phones.
Eze, 31, told the police that he collected N100,000 from Obi, who wanted to buy a laptop with the money, and exchanged it with counterfeit N400,000 from his accomplice in Obalende, Lagos Island.
He reportedly admitted that he bought a laptop and four phones with the fake money, adding that he gave the laptop and a phone to Obi.
Obi said, “I knew that the money Ebuka (Eze) paid to the delivery man was fake. We were together in the ‘business.’ After he bought the laptop with fake money, I told him I was not interested in the business again. Police arrested me with the iPhone X that he gave me.”
The suspects were brought before an Ogba Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday on three counts bordering on unlawful possession of fake currency by a police prosecutor, ASP Ben Emuerhi.
The charges read in part, “That you, Ebuke Eze and Emmanuel Obi, and others now at large, on May 2, 2019, at 5.30pm, at Oluwanishola House, Ajah, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did have in your possession fake sum of N400,000, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the presiding magistrate, Mrs O. Sule-Amzat, in the sum of N200,000 each with two sureties each in the like sum.
The case was adjourned till October 28, 2019.