Shocking revelations emerged, over the week, that the sum of N100 million found in the bank account of the wife of late billionaire kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as E-money, which was suspected to be proceed of crime and was ordered to be seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, by the Federal High Court, Owerri, Imo state has disappeared.
The account which has a net balance of N105million at the time it was confiscated and a lien placed on it currently has a balance of N6,800 in it.
At present it was learned that detectives at the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, were working to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the huge sum from the bank and arrest the culprits
Recall that 13 buildings, located around choice areas within Enugu, Abia and Imo states, including a hotel valued at about N220million in Enugu State, were discovered to have been purchased by the late billionaire kidnapper within the space of two years. He was also said to have bought 13 expensive vehicles including tippers and trailer trucks, while the sum of N100million was found in a bank account belonging to his wife, within the same period.
Our source, while speaking with Vanguard’s Crime Guard said; “We received intelligence reports about E-money’s criminal activities in October 2017, while he was a policeman, after one Emmanuel and David Ofong were abducted along Nsukka-Kogi Road, Enugu by a gang of kidnappers and a ransom of $2 million was paid for the release of one of the victims, David Ofong while the kidnappers held on to Emmanuel Ofong, demanding additional money.
“We went into the case and through the aid of advanced technology, we were able to establish that E-money was the man behind the kidnapping but we had difficulty arresting him then because he was always moving in and out of the country.
How he operated the gang
“Shockingly, we heard, in 2018 that he had been killed alongside two members of his gang. But since Chief Emmanuel Ofong, who he kidnapped was still missing; we continued our case with the hope of arresting other members of his gang. In the process, we arrested a banker working for him and he informed us that his wife had a fixed deposit account credited with N100 million.
“We also arrested a property agent, who assisted him in buying his property. We looked further into his activities and discovered that he was operating a gang so sophisticated that his gang members were not close to themselves and none of them knew where he kept his victims after he had kidnapped them.
He also conducted negotiations for ransom of his victims by himself which was usually in foreign currencies. We discovered that he gave his gang members whatever he liked as he had succeeded in preventing them from knowing how much he got for the operations.
“We also discovered that E-money used, to a large extent, his police exposure in coordinating his criminal enterprise and he ended up acquiring so much money within a short period.
“Despite the October 2019 interim order of forfeiture, issued by the Federal High Court Owerri, to the Nigeria Police Force to confiscate all properties belonging to E-money, which included vehicles, buildings and the sum of N100million found in his wife, Gift Ezenwa’s account, the said N100million has been withdrawn completely,” the source lamented.
More revelations from gang member
Meanwhile, a 32-year-old man, Ifeanyi Asiegbuelam, who was being detained by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, has narrated how he assisted late billionaire kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as E-money, in kidnapping several rich persons within Imo and Abia States respectively, lamenting that he was left poor, while the late kidnapper became a billionaire.
Asiegbuelam, who was arrested recently by policemen in Cross River State and handed over to operatives of the IRT, disclosed that he met E-money in January 2018, five years before he (E-money) joined the Nigeria Police force. He added that they were both motorcycle operators working in Owerri, before E-money opted to join the police.
E-money was killed alongside two other members of his gang during an exchange of gunfire with some policemen attached to the Imo state police.
The Imo state indigene who is a primary school dropout said; “I am from Attah Town in Ikeduru Local Government area of Imo State.
“I am a primary school dropout because I lost my father at a very young age and there was no one to train me in school. My uncle took me to the north where I lived with him for some time and I returned to Owerri and became a commercial motorcyclist. Few years into it, I met E-money in Owerri and he was also a commercial motorcyclist at that time.
“E-money and I became very close friends and after riding our bikes, we would go to my mother’s shop to rest and we did the job together for five years, before he joined the police.
“He told me that he wanted to join the police and he asked me to join him, but I told him that I had no school certificate to back me as I was a primary school dropout.
“He went ahead, joined the police and started driving police vehicles around Owerri.”
He added that after a while, he stopped seeing E-money doing his police job and in 2017, he heard that E-money had traveled out of the country, but he showed up few weeks later the same year in his house with a dark colored Toyota Prado SUV, and invited him to join his kidnapping enterprise.
Our kidnapping exploits
Narrating their kidnapping operations, Asiegbuelam said; “On the first operation that I went with him, we went out with E-money’s Prado SUV which had a tinted glass and we drove down to Okigwe where we kidnapped a man in a car.
“I don’t know how he got information about the man but I heard him talking to someone who gave him the description of the clothes the victim was wearing and the type of car he was driving.
“We accosted the vehicle, crossed it, grabbed the man in the vehicle and took him into our own vehicle, and zoomed off. He then asked me to blindfold the man and when we got close to my town, he asked me to come down from his SUV and he gave me the sum of N50, 000.
“I didn’t question it and he took the man away. I didn’t know where he took the man to, the number of days the man spent with him and how he negotiated and collected his ransom.
Two weeks later, he called me again, asked where I was and I told him. He picked me up and we proceeded to Umuhaia, Abia State where we kidnapped a man using the same pattern and on our way back to Owerri, he asked me to drop out of the vehicle and gave me N50,000. This time, he told me that he was heading to Enugu State where he had a hotel to keep the victim.
“I didn’t question him, I just took the money and left. Few days later, he called again, picked me up and we went to Orlu, where we kidnapped a man in a Toyota Highlander, this time he took the man to my house in Ikeduru and kept the man for two days. He gave me the sum of N50, 000 and a pump action gun to look after the man.
“Thereafter, he came back and took the man away. I didn’t know how long he kept the man or the amount he took as ransom from the man. I didn’t question him and I was also not the only person working with him.
“He had seven boys including me working for him and he had two Ak 47 rifles and two pump action guns. He bought the AK-47 rifles from a man in Aba, Abia State, we met the man in the bush, took the rifles from him and paid him his money. I don’t know the name of the man; it was E-money who knew the man.”
Maintained two gangs
Asiegbuelam also explained that E-money boys were divided into two and that he belonged to the gang which had one De-Don and another known as PA as members, while he identified members of the other group as Chimobi, Chiwendu and Ugo. He added that E-money split his rifles among his boys for safe keeping and easy movement during operations.
“I belonged to one of the groups which had De-Don and PA as members and we all went for four kidnapping operations while Chimobi, Chiwendu and Ugo, were also working for him. They did several jobs without my knowledge,” he stated.
How he was killed
Narrating how E-money was killed while he managed to escape, Asiegbulam said; “One month after we kidnapped the man in the Toyota Highlander, E-money came to my house in Ikeduru with PA and De-Don and he told us that he had an operation, we didn’t know who the person was.
He then started calling one of his boys known as Chinwedu, to bring his Ak-47 not knowing that Chinwedu had been arrested and was in the custody of operatives of the Imo State Police Command Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, who revealed a lot of E-money’s activities to the SARS operatives.
While we were calling Chinwedu, the police made him talk to us that he was free and convinced us to come to a location where we could collect the rifle and proceed for the operation.
When we got there, E-money sensed danger and stopped his SUV and started running while De-Don and PA joined him in the same direction. The police went after them and gunned them down.
I was lucky as I was not noticed and I quietly sneaked into a nearby bush and escaped.
Formation of new gang
“I ran to Owerri, where I stayed for two months. I then got a call from Ugo, who was keeping one of E-monye’s rifles and we formed a new gang but on our first operation, we ran into trouble.
“We went to kidnap a woman along Onitsha Road. We were four persons that went for that operation, Ugo, his friend and Chimobi.
“While we were taking the woman to our camp some policemen accosted us and a shootout ensued. Ugo’s friend, I don’t know his name was killed in the process, Ugo escaped, but Chimobi and I were arrested.
“Chimobi sustained a bullet wound in the process and we were kept in an open cell in handcuffs. I didn’t know how Chimobi got keys to our handcuffs and we escaped again from police custody.
“I ran to Rivers State, I didn’t know where Chimobi ran to, but I stayed in Port-Harcourt for more than one year, then I moved to Calabar, Cross River State when I felt that the police were closing in on me in Port-Harcourt.
“I lived in Calabar for seven months with a friend who I met in Port-Harcourt and we were working in a farm. I didn’t know that the police were still hunting for me.
“I was arrested in my friend’s house, taken to Owerri before I was brought back to Lagos and handed over to the IRT. It was after my last arrest that I realized that E-money made so much money from our business and left me a poor man begging for money,” he narrated.