The Nigerian Police has arrested the son and adopted daughter of Nigerian comic actor John Okafor, better known as Mr. Ibu for allegedly conspiring and stealing the sum of N55 million donated by Nigerians to cater to his medical needs..
This was contained in a press statement from the Police Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCID), signed by Police Spokesperson ASP Mayegun Aminat.
FCID also disclosed that the move was in response to a petition filed on behalf of the actor’s wife Stella Maris Okafor by Diamond Waves Law. The petition alleged that Mr Ibu’s adopted daughter Jasmine Okekeagwu , and his two sons Onyeabuchi and Valentine Okafor conspired to steal the funds donated by the public to fund his medical bills.
The statement partly 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.”
The statement added that the conspiring duo of Jasmine and Onyeabuchi manipulated Mr. Ibu’s wife, Stella Maris and got hold of her mobile phone.
“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 statement detailed.
FCID detailed that the duo reportedly reinstalled the banking apps on the phone to access banking details, then transferred 55million naira.
“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.”
Having stolen the money, Jasmine and Onyeabuchi entered a sham marriage agreement to enable them escape out of the country, before Stella Maris raised the alarm.
“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 further revealed.
The police disclosed that the suspects were arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court 1, Yaba, Lagos, and charged with conspiracy and stealing. However, they were granted bail, and the case was adjourned to March 11, 2024.
The sum of N50 million was recovered from the suspects, the police revealed.
“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 statement said.
Mr. Ibu has been in hospital for over three months, and undergone multiple surgeries in an attempt by medical professionals to save his life.
Following a public cry for help, fans and well-meaning Nigerians sent multiple donations to help the actor sort out his medical expenses.
The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) reported few weeks ago that the actor was in critical condition. AGN called for support and prayers for the sick actor and his colleague, Amaechi Muonagor, who is also hospitalised and battling for his life over stroke.