The suspect, simply identified as Ortega (other name withheld), who was cornered by Crimewatch at the palace of the traditional ruler on Sunday before he was handed over to the police, confessed that he committed the crime but attributed his conduct to the devil.
The suspect explained that he was a journalist, working for a community newspaper, Alimosho Times, before the devil lured him to explore the crime world.
The con man had hoodwinked the monarch through a hoax letter of nomination for award as "Outstanding Personality of the Decade," purportedly sent by a faceless group "Tinubu 4ALL Organisation."
According to the letter, dated April 28, 2011, the actual date for conferment of the award was slated for June 17, 2011 at Oriental Suites in Lekki. Hooked by the bogus award bug, the traditional ruler fell easy prey to Otega and his syndicate, who took undue advantage of the situation to fleece the traditional ruler to the tune of several millions of naira. In a clever scheme, the syndicate made a fraudulent representation to the traditional ruler with false pretence that it was the former governor he was dealing with.
According to the traditional ruler, before the con man was arrested, he also perfected the art of mimicking the way the ex-governor speaks to the extent that he had no reason to doubt that the person speaking to him on phone was his former governor.
"Anytime he called me, he would speak like Asiwaju. He would just say 'I'm sending someone to you; when he comes, give him so and so amount'. So, I would just advance the money to him, thinking that he was Tinubu."At times, he would come twice in a week. Later, he said he said he has moved to Ghana. He would ask me to give him between N380, 000 and N400, 000 for ticket and accommodation. He has been doing that since the last Muslim fast till now; it has been going on for more than 10 times.
"I was doing that with the belief that it was my former governor that I was dealing with and that anytime I see him, he will surely refund me. He would speak exactly like Tinubu and I had no reason to doubt him," he said. Speaking further, the traditional ruler said the suspect was unmasked about two weeks ago when he told him that Tinubu had sent a cheque to him. "He said Tinubu sent the cheque through an airline and that each mail containing the cheque will require N48, 000 to clear. I paid for the first one and he said the first aircraft missed carrying it. So, I paid another N48, 000. But again, he said the aircraft didn't carry it.
"However, on the third occasion, the aircraft eventually carried the mail, which has his name and address on it while the cheque inside bears my name. I learnt that he quarreled with them at the airport and he was arrested."They now called the fake Tinubu, who then arranged for a lawyer to bail him. The said lawyer, who I now believe is part of their syndicate called me to inform me that he has collected the cheque and that I should give Tega money to go to Ekiti to collect it.
"I gave him N187, 000 for his hotel accommodations. I was told to give him N200, 000 to give to Falana, who they said was Tinubu's lawyer to release the cheque."I have since found out that that fellow was also a fake because we have been able to speak with the real Falana. He didn't know anything about them. "I stopped receiving their calls. When he returned from Ekiti, he didn't come here until we got him arrested in a guest house," he said.
Tega confirmed the story when Crimewatch spoke to him at the traditional ruler's palace just before he was handed over to the police. He claimed to be a journalist, working for a community newspaper, before his current misadventure.
"I used to work for Kabiyesi as his media man before. He loved me like a son and that is why I don't like what has happened. I have always been his media person. I'm guilty of all these allegations and I don't like it but it is the devil," the Delta State indigene soberly said.
Asked on how to make atonement for his sins, Tega said he would make restitution by handing over everything he has acquired through the fraud to the traditional ruler. "I have decided to dispose of everything I have acquired. Whatever I have gotten through the money, I will do a change of ownership and hand over everything to him. It includes land and other things," he said.