A 34-year old man suspected to be working for an international criminal organization has been arrested with 108 Automated Teller Machine debit cards.
Pascal Udeh was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, while he was attempting to board a Qatar Airline flight to China.
The debit cards belong to five commercial banks, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement on Saturday.
Ahmadu Garba, the NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, said the suspect was arrested in connection with suspected money laundering and was immediately transferred to the Assets and Financial Investigation Directorate of the Agency for investigation.
According to the agency, First City Monument Bank had the highest number of cards with 58; Stanbic IBTC Bank had 23 cards; Zenith Bank, 19; Fidelity Bank, 6; and Diamond Bank, 2.
Victoria Egbase, the Director of Assets and Financial Investigation, said the Agency had established a prima facie case of financial crime against the suspect and that the Chairman had ordered the transfer of the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation.
The NDLEA quoted the suspect as saying that he was asked to take the cards to China.
“I am not the owner of the cards,” said Mr. Udeh.
“I was told to take them to China and that somebody will collect them from me when I get there. I have a shop where I sell clothes at Onitsha main market.
“I am also a 300-level student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State studying History and International Relations. I never knew it would lead to my arrest.”.
The suspect hails from Obibi in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, the NDLEA said.
Ahmadu Giade, the NDLEA Chairman, said the case should be transferred to the EFCC.
“This is a suspected money laundering case involving cash transfer with debit cards,” said Mr. Giade.
“The EFCC will carry out further investigation on the case. We must continue to work together as a united force against criminal syndicates.”