The Nigeria Police Force on Thursday said it had arrested a son and adopted daughter of Mr. John Okafor, popularly known as Mr. Ibu, for allegedly stealing the ailing actor’s N50m being proceeds of donations to cater to the thespian’s ailing health.
The Force, through its Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Alagbon, in Ikoyi, Lagos State, said the duo of Onyeabuchi Okafor and Jasmine Okekeagwu, allegedly conspired to commit the crime.
The family of the ailing thespian revealed in October 2023 that the actor had undergone five surgeries, seeking further treatment abroad while appreciating donations from the actor’s fans.
However, the FCID, in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Mayegun Amina, on Thursday, said the arrest followed a petition received from Diamond Waves Law on behalf of the actor’s wife, Stella Okafor, alleging that two sons of Mr. Ibu conspired with his adopted daughter, Jasmine, to defraud their father.
The Force disclosed that investigations showed that the thespian’s phone was hacked by the suspects to carry out the crime.
The statement read, “On September 6, 2023, a petition was received from Diamond Waves Law on behalf of Stella Maris Chinyere Okafor, wherein one Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor and Valentine Okafor, both of whom are sons of Mr. John Ikechukwu Okafor (Alias Ibu) and Jasmine Chioma Okekeagwu, were alleged to have conspired to defraud Mr. Ibu while being on sick bed.
“Investigation into the case established that as part of efforts to fund his medical bills, Mr. Ibu launched a public fund-raising initiative and attracted donations from his fans, entertainment industry players, and other well-spirited members of the public into a bank account, which he publicised and dedicated for the purpose.
“Mr. Ibu’s wife, Mrs. Stella Maris Chinyere Okafor, was initially managing the funds to defray the medical bills of Mr. Ibu and sustain the family. However, along the line, the duo of Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor and Jasmine Chioma Okekeagwu manipulated Mrs. Stella Maris Chinyere Okafor, took possession of Mr. Ibu’s phone, and hacked into the banking details therein.”
The police stated that the duo allegedly reinstalled the banking app on the phone belonging to the actor and transferred the sum of N55m from the donations for the actor’s medical bill with the intention of using the proceeds to travel abroad.
However, the Force also claimed that it had recovered a sum of N55m allegedly stolen from the actor’s account.
It stated, “They thereafter re-installed the mobile banking applications of Mr. Ibu on the phone of Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor preparatory to the perfection of their preconceived fraudulent plans and wiped off the banking applications originally installed on Mr. Ibu’s phone, thereby taking direct and full charge of the banking activities of Mr. Ibu in relation to the funds being donated by members of the public in support of his medicals.
“Through this fraudulent act, Onyeabuchi Okafor and Jasmine Okekeagwu started transferring funds from Mr. Ibu’s public fundraising account to Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor’s personal bank, with forensic analysis of their illicit financial dealing establishing that a total of fifty-five million naira (N55m) had been successfully and criminally transferred prior to their arrest and investigation.
“Investigation also unearthed text messages via WhatsApp between Jasmine and Daniel Okafor, detailing stage-by-stage how they conspired and hatched their criminal plans. It was also established that the two suspects, Jasmine Chioma Okekeagwu and Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor, had a sham marriage at the Ikoyi Marriage Registry with plans to escape from the country to the UK, where they intended to settle with their proceeds of crime. They already applied for a UK visa in furtherance of this plan prior to their arrest,” the statement added.
The police said the duo had both been charged at the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Yaba, in Charge No. A/06/2024 for conspiracy and stealing.
The statement added, “During investigation, the stolen fifty-five million naira (N55m) was traced to the bank account of Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor, wherein it was discovered that they had squandered a total of five million naira (N5m) on questionable transactions, while the balance total of fifty million (N50m) has been recovered from him.
“On the strength of evidence, Onyeabuchi Daniel Okafor and Jasmine Chioma Okekeagwu have been charged to the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Yaba, in Charge No. A/06/2024 for conspiracy and stealing.
“They were granted bail in the sum of N15m with two sureties in like sum, while the case was adjourned to March 11, 2024. Meanwhile, the case file has been forwarded to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice.”
The Ibu family had reportedly engaged in a feud as the thespian’s wife alleged that his adopted daughter, Jazmine, had hijacked the money donated by good-willing Nigerians to the actor.
In a lengthy post, the actor’s wife wrote in part, “Recently, there have been some malicious lies being peddled against me on social media as masterminded by Jazmine Chioma Okeke, who wants to make me an outsider in my own home, but God forbid. I will address Jazmine’s excessive interference in my family affairs and other related matters when the time is right. For now, my husband’s health is most important to me.
Credit: Punch Newspaper