The police in Abuja have launched a manhunt for a Ghanaian, Asiedu Ofei, and one Femi, a Nigerian, reportedly notorious for producing fake currencies.
It was learnt that Ofei, who was arrested sometime in July, 2016 in Ekiti State, had led the police operatives to apprehend his gang members in Seme, Lagos State, when he escaped.
PUNCH Metro gathered seven cartons filled with counterfeited naira notes and cedis had earlier been recovered from the fleeing suspect.
While in police custody, he was said to have mentioned Femi as one of his accomplices and promised to lead the operatives to the gang’s hideout.
Our correspondent learnt that the policemen, who followed Ofei to Seme, had maintained some distance from him and told him to lure other members out of the supposed hideout.
A police source told PUNCH Metro that the cops had lurked around the hideout with a view to rounding up the suspects the moment they came out.
The source said Ofei, however, alerted his gang members to the presence of the police and they all fled the area via an alternative route.
“He (Ofei) is a wanted suspect. He escaped about two weeks ago when the police took him to arrest other members of the gang in Seme. The operatives stayed some distance away to monitor him while he called out other members of the gang. The strategy was used because the criminals will not come out from their hideout to answer any of their members until they confirm that the member is alone and the area is safe.
“While he was calling on the other members to come out at a distance away from where the policemen stood by, he took advantage and he and the members vamoosed. Since then, efforts have been on to re-arrest him and the other members,” the source said.
Another source said the modus operandi of the syndicate was to print the currencies – naira and cedis – abroad and smuggle them into Nigeria and Ghana, respectively.
It was said that they subsequently spent part of the notes to buy goods and exchanged the remaining with foreign currencies.
The source said, “Ofei was arrested in July during a raid but he escaped from police custody when he led cops to arrest the other members of his syndicate. Seven cartons of counterfeited cedis were recovered from him. One of the cartons contained fake naira notes. The suspect confessed that they printed the money abroad and smuggled them into Nigeria and Ghana for spending and exchange into foreign currencies. He also mentioned one Femi as a member of the gang.
“The officers, who carried out the operation that led to the suspect’s escape, are under pressure to re-arrest him and his gang members.
“It is a serious embarrassment to them and the Force. They are seeking useful information that could lead to their arrest.”
When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Donald Awunah, said he was not aware of the incident.
He said, “I am not aware of the case. Try and get in touch with the FCT command because they should have the documents declaring him wanted.”
The FCT police spokesperson, ASP Anjuguri Menzah, said, “I am not aware of that case. I will need some more information to know the formation or division handling it.”