Policemen attached to the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Lagos State Police Command, have been accused of collecting N50,000 before granting bail to one Blessing Taiwo, who was arrested for alleged theft.
Although the suspect was released on Saturday after the money was paid, the police allegedly seized her mobile phone pending when a balance of N20,000 would be paid on Tuesday.
It was learnt that the suspect’s sister, Florence Taiwo, who always took food to her in the cell, was allegedly molested by the policemen who touched breasts and dipped hands into her private parts before allowing her to take the food into the cell.
Our correspondent gathered that Blessing, a mother of two, had been arrested on Monday after her boss, Mrs. Abiola Osagie, accused her of stealing $50,000 while the latter was away on a trip.
Osagie had alerted policemen from the Ikoyi division, who transferred the matter to the SCIID, Yaba, for further investigation.
Although the case bordered on alleged theft, it was transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad on Hogan Bassey Crescent, Surulere, where the victim was allegedly locked up in the same with a suspect who had a mental problem.
After spending three days in the cell and the intervention of the Office of the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer and an Assistant Commissioner of Police, the suspect was released on bail.
However, a demand of N2m was allegedly made, which was negotiated to N70,000.
“After we paid them N50,000, the police didn’t release her (Blessing) phone. They said we should bring the remaining on Tuesday when her phone would be released,” a family member told our correspondent.
On how the matter started, Blessing said she had been working as the office administrator and assistant to Osagie for the past eight years in an international investment and equity firm, AfricInvest.
AfricInvest is in eight countries of the world, but the Nigerian office in Ikoyi, Lagos, is under the leadership of Osagie, who is the Managing Director.
Blessing said, “The office cleaner was sacked more than a year ago and since then, a new cleaner had not been employed. I have been the one cleaning the office; washing the toilet and doing other menial duties.
“During the quarterly appraisal, I raised issues about the general cleaning of the office and suggested we get somebody to do it. After she travelled, I asked her driver to do the job for a fee of N10,000. I decided to give the job to him to save cost.
“However, on the last day of the cleaning, I observed the man messed up the chemical for the cleaning of the floor and I got a man to assist with the clean up.
“She returned from her trip on Thursday, and by Friday, she came to the office. I gave her feedback about the cleaning. I told her I invited four people from outside to do the job. I didn’t tell her that her driver did the job because if she knew, she would have asked why I paid him any money.”
The Odogbolu, Ogun State indigene, said Osagie did not raise any issues after they both left the office at 6pm on the Friday and also at the end of work the following Monday.
Blessing said she, however, received a call by 8.30pm on Monday, as Osagie asked her to get to work early on Tuesday over an issue.
“When I got there, she said I should get a ladder and climb to a particular cabinet. I thought she wanted me to bring down some files.
“However, I found a black bag and she asked me to bring it down. She said she left $50,000 in the bag, among other currencies, and I told her that nobody took anything from the place because I was careful,” she added.
Policemen from the Ikoyi division were said to have been invited to the firm, who interrogated the suspect.
Blessing, 43, said she informed the police that the driver and another man were involved in the cleaning and she supervised them.
The driver, however, reportedly told the police that the bag in question had been taken home by Osagie on Monday.
He allegedly said he noticed that the bag was heavy, adding that he did not know the content.
A security man on the premises, who was also interviewed, allegedly told operatives that Osagie was seen returning to the office alone late on the same night with the bag.