The fraud was perpetrated through the collaboration of Accounting, Audit and Circulation sales staff over the last one year.
The police have arrested seven of the suspects, while two of the ringleaders – Messrs Dirisu Andrew Eshorame from Okpella in Edo State and Sola Popoola from Okemesi in Ekiti State - are at large.
Dirisu was the newspaper’s Kakawa, Lagos Island, Sales Representative, while Popoola was its Sales Auditor at the Account Department.
The fraud was carefully carried out by the suspects who had been stealing the organisation’s newspaper sales proceeds using fake bank tellers.
In a petition to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Apapa Police Station, Apapa, Lagos, the organisation’s Managing Director, Mr. Eniola Bello, said: “On Wednesday April 28, 2010 a routine check of the account where our newspaper sales are deposited in GTBank showed some discrepancy in what was sold and what was actually paid in from our Kakawa sales point.”
Bello explained that on getting a query about the discrepancy in the payment, Dirisu quickly paid N1 million two days after he should have deposited the money into the account.
Also, Dirisu, Popoola and others paid another N10.8 million, triggering suspicion by senior management.
The suspicion led to investigation which uncovered massive fraud, showing that they had been stealing between N10 - N20 million per week by using fake bank tellers..
Furthermore, it was discovered that in Lagos Island alone, N175 million has been stolen from Kakawa sales point since January this year.
Bello therefore requested the police to assist the newspaper in apprehending Popoola, whose last known address was 9 Idowu Williams Street, Off Toyin Bus Stop, Agbado Road Iju Ishaga, Lagos.
In addition, the paper’s MD asked the police to apprehend Dirisu whose last known address was 30 Ogunbowale Street, Ilasamaja Lagos.
Bello added that THISDAY believes that both Popoola and Dirisu are in a good position to name others involved in the fraud.
The MD also called on members of the public who have information about the suspects to furnish the police with same.
Meanwhile, up to seven accounting and sales staff have been arrested and are currently facing questions.
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