THE greed of 30-year-old Frank Chukwuneye and Abdullahi Zakari, 25, was on steroids, when they conspired to steal N450,000 from their employer, Tom Wu, a Chinese businessman based in Benin city, capital of Edo State. The evil duo of Chukwuneye and Zakari were employed three months ago by Wu, to serve respectively as his interpreter and security guard.
While Chukwuneye was placed on a monthly salary of N70,000, the Chinese paid Zakari N30,000 per month. He did so regularly.
But demon of greed took hold of their minds and the seed of conspiracy was sown. During the yuletide period, on December 29, Wu withdrew N450,000 from the bank. Upon reaching home, he asked Chukwuneye to put it on the top of the drawer in his bedroom. Later he went out with Chukwuneye.
Meanwhile, as Sunday Sun correspondent gathered from the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, Chukwuneye had conspired with Zakari to steal the money. He gave Zakari the spare key to the bedroom of Wu and told him where to find the money. To ensure his cooperation, he also promised to give him N100,000, and this sealed the conspiracy.
Narrating what happened next, Zakari told Sunday Sun in an interview at the headquarters of the State Criminal Investigation Department, where he and Chuwkuneye are being held in custody, as investigation progresses: “On December 30, 2015 when our Chinese master went out, I went to his bedroom, opened it with the key Frank gave me. I saw the N450,000 where they kept the money on the drawer. I took the N450,000, put in the hollow of a loudspeaker and then set the house on fire.”
Upon learning that his house was on fire, Wu rushed back home. Suspecting foul play, he went to Ugbor Police Station, accompanied by Chukwuneye, to make a formal report to the police.
The case was then transferred to the State CID Benin City, which commenced investigation immediately.
Ezike told Sunday Sun that the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chukwudi Ariekpare, SCID, told the officer-in-charge of general investigation, Supol Stella Ebikefe (SP), to dispatch a team of detectives. In course of investigation, the trail led to the two employees. When properly questioned, they spilled the beans, confessed to the crime, and gave graphic details of the roles played by each of them.
Chukwuneye in his confessional statement admitted that he was the mastermind of the evil act.
Recounting his role to Sunday Sun reporter, he said: “Three months ago, I was employed by the Chinese as an interpreter and he paid me N70,000 monthly. I masterminded the whole ugly incident; I gave the security man, Abdullahi, a spare key to the bedroom of our master and told him to set the house ablaze after taking the money.
“It was people in the neighbourhood who alerted me that the house was burning, but I pretended as if I didn’t know what was happening. I followed my master to Ugbor Police Station to make a report.”
Expectedly, the victim, Wu, felt deeply betrayed by the two men he employed. He said: “I was shocked to learn that the two Nigerians I employed and made them comfortable and also paid them regularly committed the crime. I employed Frank as my interpreter and gave him everything he wanted, yet he betrayed me. He was the only person who knew that I brought N450,000 from the bank and put it in my bedroom. I want justice to be done and the police to recover my money from them.”
Ezike assured that the suspects would be charged to court soon.