A 27-year-old man, John Emmanuel, who was a staff member of a travel and tour company in Ibadan, Oyo State, has been arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for allegedly swindling over 10 clients of the company after collecting visa fees from them without remitting the money to the company or the United States.
Crime Reports learnt that the suspect’s deeds were exposed when one of the company’s clients, one Gbemi (surname withheld) who introduced 10 clients to the suspect, reported at Apata police station that Emmanuel collected N433, 900 from 10 people as US visa fees between July and September.
The lady, from Sagamu, Ogun State, further told the police that the suspect made the clients to believe that he had paid the visa fees to the US embassy only for them to discover that he did not pay the money but had spent it.
Gbemi also spoke further that the suspect used the visa code of one of his company’s clients to deceive one of the people she brought to him that he had paid the client’s fee, but he (Emmanuel) was exposed through a letter from the US embassy which stated that the client used the code of another person.
According to the complainant, while speaking with Crime Reports, “I got to know John at Absolute Success Travels and Tours Agency when I needed help to process my US visa.
“In the course of filling a form, I was directed to John and we got talking. He then gave me his complimentary card, explaining that the way the company was being operated was that the number of clients brought by staff would determine the commission such staff would get.
“I brought 10 clients between June and September. The second client I brought to the company through him was one Azeez (surname withheld) and his wife in July.
“When it was time for training for Azeez, John said there was no need for it. He also said that he made an error while filling Azeez’s visa code and pleaded that I should not let the company know about it, asking for time to rectify it.
“He later gave Saturday, September 24 as a date that Azeez should come for training, but when Azeez called him to confirm the time he should come for the training, he refused to pick the call. When Azeez sent a text message, he did not respond.
“This prompted me to come to Ibadan with Azeez on Monday, September 26, but when we got to the office, we were told John was not around. I went straight to his boss to explain what had been going on. That was how the boss said that he had been looking for Azeez, as the US embassy sent a mail to his office that he used someone else’s pass code to process his visa. He then showed me the letter.
“It was then I informed the boss that he should help crosscheck the list of other clients that paid through John. That was when we got another shocker that all the money paid was not also remitted to the company. And all the clients transferred the fees into John’s bank account; only one of them gave him cash.”
In an interview with the suspect, he confessed to the allegation against him.
“It is true that I collected money from some of our clients and did not remit it. I did it with the belief that I could always get the money and buy the visa fee later. I had some money I was planning to use to refund the money. I also had my commission which should be close to N200,000 that I was expecting the company to pay me.
“The money I collected totalled N433,900 from 10 people. Actually, I used the money on my father’s ailment. I never planned for things to come out this way. I thought I would have got the money I was expecting and remitted the one I spent before it would be exposed. But the money I was expecting did not come in good time; that was why I landed in this (arrest),” he said.
On the issue of stealing the visa fee code of some clients to process the visas of others, Emmanuel initially denied the allegation but later confessed when confronted by his former boss and the complainant.
Crime Reports learnt that the suspect was arraigned in court on September 30 and was remanded in prison as he could not fulfil his bail conditions.