By Laureta Akpan
A retired Colonel, Bassey Jackson-Umoh, was on Thursday paraded by the Cross River State Police command for allegedly stealing a 2008 model of Toyota Highlander belonging to a member representing Obudu State constituency in the Cross River House of Assembly, Mr. Steven Okpupken
While briefing newsmen, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. John Eluu, said the suspect who posed as Maj.-Gen Peter Williams, attached to the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, had issued a dud cheque to a car dealer, took the Toyota Highlander and left an old Toyota Camry car in the dealer’s custody.
He was later arrested with the vehicle in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State after repeated complaints from the car dealer.
According to the Police Spokesman, the blue Toyota Highlander with number plate, Cross River BKS 214 AA, was fraudulently obtained from the car dealer by the retired colonel.
“On October 5, 2015, one Mr. Steven Okpukpen, a member of the state House of Assembly, came to the command with a written petition that he gave out his 2008 Toyota Highlander for sale. He gave the light blue vehicle to the owner of Micah Motors to be placed for sale at the cost of N3m.
“He stated that to his surprise, the manager of Micah Motors informed him that one retired Maj. Gen. Peter Williams came to his car shop and indicated interest to buy the Highlander and another Honda Accord car for N7.5m.
“In his petition, he also stated that the said retired colonel, who introduced himself as Maj. Gen. Peter Williams, had on October 3, issued a post-dated cheque to be cashed on October 5, by the Managing Director of Micah Motors.
But on presentation of the cheque to the bank, it was dishonoured by the bank for insufficient funds.”
The PPRO said upon receipt of the information, a team of detective from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state trailed the suspect to Uyo where he was arrested.
He added, “During investigation, the suspect confessed to the police that his real name was Col. Bassey Jackson-Umoh (retd). He said that Maj. Gen. Peter Williams was his fake business name which he used in duping members of the public.
“He equally confessed that he was fully aware that there was no money in the said bank account. He confessed that since his Toyota Camry car was bad and he needed a new car and had no money to buy a new one, he had to convince the car dealer that there was money in the said bank account. He did this dirty deal so as to allow him take possession of the Toyota Highlander and the Honda car.”
Mr. Eluu assured the public that investigation into the matter is ongoing and the suspect will soon be charged to court.
In his reaction, the suspect promised to deal with anyone that was connected with his travails anytime he regains his freedom adding that the police were lying against him but time will prove him innocent.
While being paraded, he was heard bragging openly that “At the end of the day, the truth will come out and I will deal with all those connected with this and everybody connected will pay for it,”
Hon. Ukpukpen in his reaction commended the police for a job well done and said the police were being unfairly portrayed in bad light by the public contrary to their contribution to containing crime.
Meanwhile, Okpupken, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, has commended the state police command for the manner with which it handled the case.
In a letter he addressed to the police command, the lawmaker said contrary to the negative impression created against the police, the case had shown that the police had a better image than what was being portrayed.
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