Police detectives at Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Alagbon, have arrested a clearing agent for allegedly diverting his client’s containers and Toyota Highlander SUV worth over N25 million in Lagos State.
He allegedly cleared the containers and sold the vehicles and goods inside to settle his debts and went into hiding.
The suspect, Tony Benson, was arrested at the weekend in his hideout in Ikeja where he hid for several months after committing the alleged crime at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
The containers and the SUV belong to Damian Ikeokwu, a Nigerian based in Canada, who contracted Benson to clear the items. It was alleged that Benson first cleared the SUV and used it to settle a debt, unknown to Ikeokwu.
Benson also took delivery of two other containers and reportedly sold all the vehicles and spare parts in them at give away prices and went underground.
Items in the containers were Toyota Highlander, Matrix, Camry, Nissan Pathfinder and spare parts and other goods worth N25 million.
The arrest of Benson followed a petition by Ikeokwu to the Inspector General of Police against Benson for alleged fraud, stealing and criminal conversion of containers of vehicles and goods worth millions of naira.
The petition written on behalf of the victim by the chambers of Kissinger Ikeokwu and dated November 2015, stated that the victim was based in Canada and had contract agreement with Benson to clear four containers. It stated that Benson later asked Ikeokwu to use the clearing charge to send a container of cars, which he did.
However, two other containers Ikeokwu sent to Benson to clear for him were cleared by Benson and the items inside them were sold without the knowledge of Ikeokwu.
After Benson allegedly sold the containers and goods including using the Highlander SUV to settle his debt, he reportedly moved out of his house to an unknown place.
While all this was going on, Ikeokwu was in Canada and did not know how to locate Benson until the police tracked him down and arrested him last week.
He was taken to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Alagbon where he allegedly confessed that he cleared the containers and sold the cars in them.
On the SUV, he said he did not sell it, adding that he was indebted and the person he was owing forcefully took the SUV, which the police has been able to recover.
Benson said he sold the items because Ikeokwu was owing him N12 million for the demurrage the containers incurred during the clearance but did not provide evidence to buttress his claims.
It was gathered that Benson was already facing a criminal charge before Apapa Magistrates’ court for allegedly using a stolen vehicle to settle his debt.
Police sources said Benson will be prosecuted after the conclusion of investigation.
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