John Effiong Etim, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today narrated how a Point of Sale, PoS, fraud suspect, Austin Christopher Essiet, who is standing trial before Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court Sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for stealing N150,000 ( One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) was apprehended.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Agbo S. Abuh, Etim who runs a PoS business, told the court that the defendant made fraudulent withdrawals on two occasions, through cardless transfer on the PoS issued to him by Access Bank, forcing the bank to freeze his account.
He said following the discovery, the bank compelled him to refund the money to the various accounts of the victims before the lien was lifted.
“On August 10, 2020, the accused came to my shop to make cardless withdrawals with my Access bank PoS. I asked him how much and he said a hundred and fifty thousand naira. In cardless withdrawals, the person will have to come with account number and the SIM card will be used to receive alerts. So i collected the account number from him, inputed it in the PoS and, because Access bank cardless withdrawal limit is N50,000 only, I had to repeat it three times, which amounted to the N150,000. His account was debited with the sum and mine was credited with the said amount. I gave him cash of N150,000 and he gave me N2,000 as service charge. The accused left and came back on August 18, 2020, to carry out same transaction with different account numbers. I suspected fraud and secretly took pictures of the accused with my PoS without him knowing because the PoS is an android PoS with camera. The transaction was perfected and the accused left,” the witness said.
Etim said he continued transacting business that day till the following day, when he could no longer make withdrawals from his account. Worried, he said he contacted his bank on Aka Road, Uyo, and met with his account officer who told him that unauthorized transactions were carried out using his PoS machine.
According to the witness, he had to close his shop. “My shop was closed during this period for over a week because all the money I had was in that account. So I called a friend that works with EFCC and he asked me some questions. Because the shop was closed longer than I expected, I went back to my bank, filled a form and the said amount was forfeited and my account was opened again” said Etim.
The witness said he continued his business for two months before the defendant came back to his shop and with the help of his neighbours, he was nabbed and handed over to the EFCC.
Abur showed the witness the petition he sent to the Commission, dated October 20, 2020, and he identified it. Consequently, it was admitted in evidence and marked exhibit P1A to D.
The matter was adjourned till December 8, 2020, for continuation of trial.