A senior staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Sarah Garba has admitted being in possession and selling a stolen car. She however claimed that the car was given to her by an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in place of her own stolen car.
Mrs. Garba who works in the audit department of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja, responsible for auditing the accounts of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is alleged to be using her relationship with the Police to forestall the return of the stolen car to the rightful owner and inflicting fear on members of the Edo state Police command.
However, the Zone 5 Police Public Relations Officer,(PPRO), DSP Iheanacho Emeka told ionigeria.com that the issue is still under investigation and promised that investigations will soon be concluded.
“We are looking at the issue objectively to ascertain the rightful owner of the vehicle” he said.
According to ionigeria.com investigations, the case involves a Toyota Camry Voltron Saloon car with registration number AUC 172 AA which was snatched at gun point by a gang of armed robbers along Benin/Sapele road near the popular Santana market, sometime in April, 2012 and reported to the Etete Division Police headquarter in Benin City.
However, on March 21st 2017 the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), recovered the stolen vehicle using their online vehicle tracking system which traced the car to a Benin based medical doctor (name withheld) who had unknowingly bought the stolen car from a dealer stand opposite University of Benin main gate in Ugbowo Benin City.
The medical doctor led a team of policemen to the car dealer stand from where he purchased the car and the dealer admitted selling the car to him at the sum of N1, 800,000.00.
The car dealer further led the policemen to another dealer along Benin/Sapele road, Benin City close to the area where the vehicle was snatched in 2012.
He was arrested and later referred by policemen attached to the Board of Internal Revenue in Benin City to the New Etete divisional police headquarters where the matter was originally reported.
Our investigations further revealed that at the police divisional headquarter, the dealer confessed to have gotten transfer of ownership from Mrs. Sarah Garba and subsequently gave the police her phone number.
According to one of our sources, a call was put across to Mrs. Garba who at the time had relocated to Abuja on transfer and upon interrogation, Mrs Garba allegedly confessed to selling the vehicle to the dealer while explaining that sometime in 2012 she bought a similar Toyota Camry car which was snatched at gun point at Etete area of Benin City.
She further explained that she reported the case to the police headquarters after which she financed a police investigation in June, 2012 which led to the recovery of a stolen Toyota Camry Voltron in Kaduna state.
Upon recovery, the Edo State police Command’s Investigating Police Officer (IPO) brought the said car to Benin City and subsequently invited Mrs. Garba for identification.
According to her, on sighting the car at the police headquarters in Benin, she observed that the colour and interior were totally different from that of her stolen car. While her car had fabric interior, the one brought by the Police had leather seats.
The source alleged that despite the difference in features noticed by her, the IPO allegedly convinced her to accept the car by stating that armed robbers usually change the colour and interiors of stolen cars. She then accepted the car and resold it to the car dealer.
Surprisingly, Mrs. Garba claimed that she does not have the original or photo-copies of the documents of her allegedly stolen vehicle, claiming that the original and photo-copies were in her car when it was snatched. She has also not been able to take the Police to the car dealer who sold the car to her
The source expressed concern that instead of Mrs. Garba being prosecuted for accepting and selling a car that isn’t hers by the Edo State Police Command and the car released to the rightful owner; she is being pampered by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Edo state.
“As if that is not enough favoritism, she also dictates to the investigating Police officers the days that she will be available for interrogation”, the source revealed.
Despite the fact that investigation has revealed that the recovered car does not belong to Mrs. Garba, the police are still finding it difficult to allow the rule of law to take its cause.
According to another source, Mrs. Garba has been using her official influence within the Police force to forestall further police action on the case while maintaining that until her purported stolen vehicle is recovered by the police; the already recovered one should not be released to the owner.
We learnt that at a point she even threatened to transfer the case to Abuja where she claimed she has more influence and advantage.
DSP Iheanacho Emeka, however denied allegation of conspiracy and favoritism by men of the Edo State Police command.