The driver of a Chief Magistrate in Igbosere, Lagos State, has been arrested by the police for allegedly stealing a Toyota Corolla belonging to his boss, Mrs. Folake Oshin.
The suspect, Timothy Yashim, reportedly connived with three other accomplices to sell the car estimated at N5m to a car dealer in Kano State at the rate of N600,000.
The accomplices, two of who had been apprehended, were identified as Ahmed Yerima, Daniel Ishaya and Muhammed Usman, a naval rating, who is still at large.
It was gathered that Yashim had reported for work at the magistrate’s house at 9am on Saturday, March 10, 2018 and collected the car key from the magistrate’s housemaid as usual.
He was said to have driven out the car unknown to the boss, who started searching for him around 11am when she wanted to go out.
It was gathered that calls made to his lines indicated they were switched off. The case was reported at the Ikoyi Police Station and was subsequently referred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja.
In a visit to his residence on Ribadu Road, Mounted Troop Barracks, Ikoyi, it was discovered that he had packed out. His roommate, Ishaya, was picked up by the police.
Yashim and Yeriba were consequently tracked down in Kano, where the car was sold to one Alhaji Garuba.
Yashim, a native of the Zango-Kataffi Local Government Area, Kaduna State, told the police that the stealing was masterminded by the officer, who lived at Giwa Barracks, Falomo, Lagos.
The 35-year-old said, “I started working with the magistrate in December 2017. Sometime in March 2018, two friends of mine, Muhammed Usman, a naval rating and Ahmed Yerima called me on the phone and asked me to see them at Giwa Barracks. When we met, they asked me how much I had realised as a driver. They said I was a fool and told me to wake up so that I could make cool money. They said we could make money if we sold my boss’ Toyota Camry car to Alhaji Garuba in Kano. I agreed with them because I wanted to make money. I drove out the car from her premises.”
Yerima, who hails from the Kaltingo LGA, Gombe State, said Yashim brought the car to him and Usman outside the barracks.
The 21-year-old explained that he and Yashim immediately drove the car to a filling station in Ogun State, where they filled up its tank before leaving for Kano.
He said they had an accident on getting to Benue State which led to a major damage to the car, adding that Usman sent part of the money for the repair.
Yerima said, “The mechanic that would repair the car demanded N198,900 for auto parts and workmanship fee. It took one week to repair the vehicle. We continued our journey and around 8pm, we arrived in Kano. It was late and we had to check into a hotel. Alhaji Garuba came to meet us at the hotel the following morning.
“The plan was to sell the car for N1.5m but Alhaji said he could not buy it at that amount because of the accident traces in it. We called officer Usman and he talked to Alhaji Garuba. They both agreed on N600,000.”
Yashim’s neighbour, Ishaya, denied his involvement in the crime.
Our correspondent learnt that the Lagos State Command wrote to the authorities of Giwa Barracks in May 2018 to produce Usman.
The Director of Information, Navy Headquarters, Abuja, Commodore Ayo Olugbode, said the agency had commenced investigation into Usman’s involvement in the alleged crime.
He added, “I want to reiterate that we do not, in any way, condone any form of indiscipline and a breach of safety and security on the part of our men. Whoever is culpable will be brought to book.”
Meanwhile, the three arrested suspects were arraigned on Wednesday on two counts of stealing before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court.
The charges read, “That you, Timothy Yashim, Hammed Yerima, Daniel Ishaya and others at large, on March 10, 2018, at 9am, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
“That you, Timothy Yashim, Hammed Yerima, Daniel Ishaya and others at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, did steal one Toyota Corolla saloon car with the number plate, SMK 324 BJ, valued at N5m property of one Olufunke Oshin, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 287(7) (10) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
While Yashim pleaded guilty, the two other defendants pleaded not guilty before the presiding magistrate, Mr. B. I. Bakare. They were granted bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties each in the like sum.
The case was adjourned till July 4, 2018 for mention.