Malaysia returnee has admitted that he advised suspected kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa a.k.a. E-money, who was killed during a shootout with the police in Imo State recently, to quit his police job and leave the country when he (E-money) ventured into kidnapping.
Thirty-seven-year-old Uche Obi, while narrating his relationship with the deceased suspected kidnapper, said he first met E-money in Mbaiese area of Imo State in 2017 while the latter was still serving as a policeman.
He said that he became friends with E-money after he (E-money) begged him for money.
Obi said: “I met him at a police checkpoint in Mbaise while I was on my way to my village in Mbano and we became friends. E-money had no car at that time so he was always making use of my car. All of a sudden, I got a call from him to come to his house.
On getting there, I discovered that he had dollars everywhere. “I asked him how he got the money and he told me that he got it from a woman who came to complain about a case in his police station and his team made away with the money found in the woman’s bag.
I then advised him to leave the country and stay in Malaysia for two years so that by the time he returned, no one would know how he made his money. “Before he took the trip, E-money buried a huge sum of money in dollars in Owerri, and his sister, Lillian, was the only person who knew where the money was kept.
While he was away, his sister called his brothers and they took some of the money and shared it among themselves. They started buying cars and landed properties. “When he heard about it, he rushed back to the country. He took the properties and started spending the rest of the money. He also bought several buildings and cars in Owerri, and each time it seemed like the money was going down, he would take a trip and return with more money.
“I didn’t know where he was getting the money from because whenever he wanted to make a call, he would ask me to leave. “I had a quarrel with him before he died, and this was because I kept advising him to control himself and stop being boastful.” Obi further said that after E-money was killed and operatives of the Inspector General of Police, Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) took over the investigation, his phone number was tracked and that led to his arrest.
While Obi was arrested for being a member of E-money’s robbery gang, he insisted that he was only a friend to the deceased suspected kidnapper.
He said: “I told them (police) that I was just a friend, but our relationship went sour because I was always advising him. I told them that while we were friends, E-money never allowed me to come close to him enough to know the source of his income. And whenever he wanted to have any serious business discussion, he would ask me to leave.
“I told them that the two guys who were killed alongside E-money were known to me but I didn’t know what they were all doing. I told IRT operatives that I was not surprised when the Imo State Police Command identified them as a gang of kidnappers because E-money’s movements were highly suspicious.
“When the IRT people arrested and questioned me, I told them all I knew about E-money, including going with him when he bought his first building. But since I did that, his family has been against me. I have been receiving threat calls from phone numbers I don’t know.
The callers are telling me that they are angry that I showed the police the location of the building in Owerri. But I had no option than to do what I did.” Obi said his return from Malaysia to Nigeria and his subsequent arrest was occasioned by some issues he had with members of his family.
He said: “My wife took everything I have; that is why I came back to Nigeria. I met E-money when I returned to Nigeria from Mayalsia and I wanted to invest the money I made, and I came with members of my family who were living with me. “The business I came for did not work out well and things did not work the way I wanted. Then my wife sold my SUV and some other property and made away with the proceeds to Cambodia. “I met E-money when I was
driving to my village and he was a policeman on checkpoint in Mbaiese area of Imo State. He stopped me and asked me to give him some money, but I told him that I didn’t have any money with me. We exchanged numbers and became friends.
“He had no vehicle then, so he used to drive my car. Later that year, my wife made away with my property and I became helpless. Then he called me to come to his house, and when I got there, I saw dollars everywhere. His brother was also carrying dollars.
“I asked him how he got the money and he said he and his team arrested a woman that had a box full of dollars. He said he and his team stole the money and shared it among themselves.
“He told me that the one I saw was his share. I then advised him to travel out of the country and stay for two years so that when he returned, everyone would think that he made his money abroad. He took my advice and left the area for three weeks. He later showed up again and started buying properties.
“We started sleeping in hotels. I was always going with him to buy some of the properties. He does not know how to calculate money in dollars, I was always there with him whenever he was buying any of his properties.
“Sometimes when we were in the hotel, he would leave us without telling anyone where he was going to only to return in the morning. He did this whenever the money he had with him had gone down.
“Along the line, I started advising him to stop bragging about the money that he had, because whenever we were in a hotel, he would threaten the owners that he wanted to buy the hotel.
“He had two wives but one of them did not live with him. He kept his cars for the brothers of his second wife.
“I didn’t benefit anything from him. All I got was just the drinks he was buying for me. We were moving round the hotels in Enugu, Aba, Owerri and Port Harcourt. I was the person who followed him to buy the hotel in Enugu for N220 million.
“He changed his phone number whenever he felt he was receiving too many calls on any line. He was about opening a bureau de change firm when he asked me not to come close to him again.
“Before he was killed, he called me. So, after he died, I switched off my phone because I feared that the police would be looking for me. I called my pastor and he prayed and said that nothing would happen to me since my hands were clean.”
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