Two sales representatives with the West Coast Fisheries Limited, Oluwaseun Olatunji and Oladapo Fasan, are cooling their heels at the X-Squad of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, for the alleged theft of 1,730 cartons of fish.
The two men allegedly conspired with the company’s driver, one Kayode, to steal the tinned fish at the company’s warehouse in the Ilupeju area of Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the men had on several occasions overloaded their delivery van and always shared the money made from the excess cartons.
However, a security man in the warehouse was said to have called the attention of the company’s management to the disappearance of 600 cartons.
The administrative manager of the company, Samuel Laraiyetan, said external auditors were subsequently invited to the company.
He said, “The security man discovered that on November 9 and 15, about 600 cartons of the tinned fish got missing. Based on that suspicion, we invited external auditors and they conducted proper checks and discovered that a total of 1,730 cartons had been stolen. We then reported to the police. We told the police that we suspected the sales representatives and the driver.”
He put the cost of the stolen goods at over N10m.
Our correspondent was told that while Olatunji and Fasan were arrested, Kayode fled and his whereabouts had yet to be known.
Olatunji, 30, an indigene of Sagamu, Ogun State, who reportedly dropped out of the National Open University due to financial constraints, said Kayode was the brains behind the theft.
He explained that the group made about N4m from the fraud, saying he was given N1.2m which he used to buy a car.
He said, “I have worked with the company for two years. I was employed as a sales representative and I was on a salary of N35,000 per month.
“The company’s driver, Kayode, called us and said we could make more money if we took extra cartons during our loading and we could sell those cartons and pocket the money. He said he would manipulate the invoice to cover up our tracks. We bought into the idea after we saw how he successfully manipulated the invoice.
“Our mode of operation is to take excess goods, which we sell to the company’s customers at the normal price. We then share the profit among ourselves.
“We made about N4m and the driver said since he was the originator, he would take the lion’s share. He took N1.5m, and gave me N1.2m, which I used to buy a car. I am ashamed of myself.”
Thirty-eight-year-old Fasan said he was pushed into the act by poverty, adding that he needed money to cater to his sick mother.
He said, “I was studying Business Administration at the Lagos State University, but I dropped out in 200 level due to financial challenges. I have worked with this company for 12 years and I never knew this was how the journey would end for me.
“But it is not true we took 1,730 cartons of fish. We stole the cartons on two occasions. The first time, we took 300 cartons and we took another 300 cartons the second time.
“I was paid N1.2m from the proceed, which I used to buy a Honda car for N750,000. The rest I used to take care of my mum, who was sick.”
One of the alleged receivers of the goods, identified only as Chukwuma, said he was unaware that the goods were stolen, adding that he bought the goods at the normal rate of N6,000 per carton.
He said he had done nothing wrong as the men were duly introduced to him by the company as their representatives.
“And they have never given me a discount,” he added.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said investigations were ongoing.
She said, “We have made contact with the management of the company to return to them the recovered stolen goods. The suspects would be charged to court at the end of investigations. Efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing driver.”