An international undercover investigation filmed by “ITV’s Exposure” has exposed one of the many fraudulent staff at the Nigeria High Commission in UK who claimed he could transport items, including stolen art, out of “any airport” using his diplomatic connections and protection. Nigerians, now you know what is happening!
Posing as a criminal gang, ITV Exposure team, led by reporter Mark Williams-Thomas, met Mr Alfa Abutu in a London hotel. Abutu, a Nigeria Embassy senior staff told them he could transport their stolen art to Paris.
Mr Alfa Abutu, who didn’t know he was being recorded secretly, told the men:
“Give me your suitcase, this suitcase usually has to be wrapped with the national flag before we can move it anywhere. And we use diplomatic vehicle whereby the police authorities will not stop us.”
Exposure told Abutu the art was worth nearly £1million, to which he suggested a commission of £250,000. In a series of meetings with undercover reporters, Abutu also claimed he could help transfer money, and smuggle diamonds and gold out of the country using an embassy car and its associated privileges.
“The easiest way is that, let’s say this box is loaded with $1 million and they are going out with it or gold, or diamond. With my link, we use a diplomatic vehicle from here straight to Heathrow or Gatwick,” he said.”They will not open the box they are bringing out. It’s not a problem.”
After Mr.Abutu later found out it was a fake deal, and was asked to comment on Exposure’s findings, Abutu denied any wrongdoing and said he had never been involved in criminal activities. He said he is local staff, not a diplomat, doesn’t have diplomatic immunity and couldn’t have assisted the Exposure team to move an item.
He turned around to claim that he just played along as he believed the Exposure’s team was not genuine.
But following the revelations, the Nigeria High Commission immediately suspended Abutu from his position in the accounts department, where he had worked for 6years, saying it “utterly condemns Mr Abutu’s conduct”.
Spokesman Ahmed Inusa said:
We supports the press and the media in their good work to expose embassy workers…who either pose as diplomats with a view to committing criminal acts for financial gains or diplomats who abuse their diplomatic privileges for any reason. The Mission thanks ITV staff in particular, for the good work they have done.