Suspected land racketeer in Abuja Terhemba Tsuum, 39 has been arrested.
He is accused of impersonating the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello and defrauding unsuspecting public of about N38 million.
Parading the suspect last week at the FCT Police Command, PPRO Anjuguri Manzah said police traced the suspect to Benue State, arrested and brought him back to Abuja to face the law.
The Command Public Relations Officer advised FCT residents to always “be vigilant and more conscious of people they go into business with. Always verify, even if it means going to the office to check.
“Ensure you are dealing with the right persons, especially when it comes to the issues of land.”
The suspect confessed to journalists of committing the crimes and regretted that he was unaware of the gravity of the offence, even as he also disclosed that he had since refunded all money to his victims, except N5 million belonging to one Mimi, who reported the case to the police.
He narrated, “It was when I knew I was doing something wrong that I started returning all the money to them.
“I have been in Abuja close to five years now, but I had not been in this business. I went into the agent business because things were not going well.
“I started using the minister’s name because I thought it is the name people would be convinced with, not because I have any contact or any dealing with him. I don’t even know him, he doesn’t even know me.”
On how he was able to convince people to part with their money, the 39-year-old holder of a Diploma in Theatre Arts disclosed that as an agent, his job was to “connect those who have land to sell with buyers and get five percent.”
He stated, “I meet them and tell them that I have someone that will help them to get land, so those interested would give me their acknowledgement papers, while some will give me money to get them the acknowledgement from AGIS [Abuja Geographic Information Systems].
“Some, I paid and gave them the acknowledgements, that is why I totalled the whole money and said it is N38 million.
“Some brought their old acknowledgements, so I minuted on the acknowledgements myself as if I’m the minister, just to convince them, but I did not take them [acknowledgements] to anybody because I don’t have any link with anybody in any of the offices who deals with allocating land.”
On how he gets land application forms which he used in deceiving his victims, he mentioned one Emmanuel ThankGod, a fellow agent in Abuja.