Paul Yempe, who passed himself off as a
journalist working for the US-based Cable News
Network (CNN), succeeded in swindling key
officials of the Bayelsa State government,
SaharaReporters has discovered. Our sources in
the state and within law enforcement disclosed
that the fraudster obtained various sums of
money running into millions of naira from state
officials who were desperate to receive
favorable coverage about the state beset by
rising insecurity and incessant kidnappings.
Investigations by SaharaReporters revealed that
Allison Okuro, the secretary to the Bayelsa
government, as well as Martins Fefegha, the
state's commissioner of Information, were among
the victims who lost money in the fraudulent deal
that was recently exposed.
A source said the fake reporter had moved round
several government ministries, departments and
agencies collecting bribes before his luck ran out.
Our reporter learned that Mr. Okuro, a
professor, had offered hotel accommodation to
the imposter and had written a memo seeking the
release of funds for a phony documentary
promised by the fake reporter in addition to
advance cash payments to Mr. Yempe.
Contacted to react on his involvement, the
Commissioner for Information declined to state
the amount of money he had advanced to the fake
journalist. He however admitted that there were
plans to lodge money into the reporter’s account
before the deceptive deal came to limelight.
Mr. Yempe was taken into custody when he
approached the Bayelsa State Commissioner for
Energy to solicit funds for an interview for a
supposed documentary to be aired on CNN.
Police spokesman Alex Akhigbe confirmed the
arrest, but said the case was still being
investigated. He declined to mention the number
of officials fleeced of cash by the fake reporter
or to reveal the amount involved.
A reporter in Bayelsa told SaharaReporters that
Mr. Yempe is a senior staff of Radio Rivers in
CNN could not immediately confirm if it has any
connection with the suspected fake reporter.