The police in Lagos have arrested Onyeabuchi, the son of actor John ‘Mr Ibu’ Okafor, and Jasmine Okekeagwu, his adopted daughter, over an alleged N55 million fraud.
Mr. Ibu’s family has been in the public eye since the actor revealed his battle with an undisclosed illness and pleaded for assistance.
The actor’s plight attracted donations from different people for his surgeries and treatment.
Despite undergoing seven surgeries, the actor’s leg was, however, amputated.
Last year, Stella claimed Jasmine hijacked the funds donated for his surgery.
On Thursday, Aminat Mayegun, the spokesperson of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, confirmed the arrest of Onyeabuchi and Jasmine in a statement.
The statement alleged that Ibu’s son and adopted daughter conspired to defraud the actor of N55 million donated for his medical treatment.
Mayegun said the department had also recovered the said amount allegedly stolen from the actor’s medical fundraising bank account.
The police revealed that it received a petition on September 6, 2023, from Diamond Waves Law, on behalf of Stella-Maris Okafor, the actor’s wife, alleging the fraud.
The police superintendent said an investigation into the case established that, as part of efforts to fund the actor’s medical bills, a public fund-raising initiative was launched and it attracted donations from many people of goodwill into a designated account.
“However, along the line, the duo of Onyeabuchi Okafor and Jasmine Okekeagwu manipulated Mrs Okafor, took possession of the actor’s phone and hacked into the banking details,” the statement reads in part.
“They, thereafter, re-installed the mobile banking applications of the actor on the phone of Onyeabuchi Okafor preparatory to the perfection of their preconceived fraudulent plans, and wiped off the banking applications originally installed on the actor’s phone.
“They, thereby, took direct and full charge of banking activities of the actor in relation to the funds being donated by members of the public in support of his medical care.”
Mayegu added that through the alleged fraudulent act, Onyeabuchi and Okekeagwu started transferring funds from the actor’s public fund-raising account to Onyeabuchi’s personal bank account.
She alleged that forensic analysis of the duo’s illicit financial dealings established that a total of N55 million was successfully and criminally transferred from the account before their arrest.
The spokesperson said the investigation also revealed “text messages, via WhatsApp, between Onyeabuchi and Okekeagwu detailing, stage-by-stage, how they allegedly conspired and committed the fraud”.
She added that two individuals have also applied for UK visas.
“It was also established that the two suspects, Jasmine and Onyeabuchi, 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,” she said.
“They already applied for UK Visa in furtherance to this plan, prior to their arrest.
“During investigation, the stolen N50 million was traced to the bank account of Onyeabuchi.
“It was discovered that they had squandered a total of N5 million on questionable transactions, while the balance of N50 million was recovered from him”.
The officer added that the suspects were charged to court on Thursday
Last November, the police had invited Jasmine amid claims she withdrew N300 million from the ailing actor’s donation account.