A 19-year-old maid, identified as Maria Cecil, has landed in police nest for allegedly conniving with a security guard and a cook to fleece their employer of more than N1m in cash and other properties. Maria, Newsroom Nigeria reliably gathered, had been in the employ of a Nigerian family (name withheld) for six months before her shady acts were uncovered.
According to a source close to the family, the maid had earned the family’s trust since she began working at their residence in the Ipaja area of Lagos in January, having taken good care of their sick mom. The maid, Maria Unknown to them, however, Maria had fostered a close partnership with the security guard, known as Ibrahim, who had been working with them around the same time the maid was employed in January, to steal money and other valuables.
The source, who sought anonymity, said a cook, identified as Kemi a.k.a Mama Ayo, was also employed in June to shed the workload off Maria. The cook, Mama Ayo, was later discharged just two weeks after she was employed, because the mother got better and strong enough to cook herself. It was shortly after Mama Ayo left that the family started to notice money and other valuables had been getting missing in the house.
The source told us, ‘One day, the father of the family noticed that some of the money for medical treatment had gone missing. A total of $1700 to be exact which was kept in his wardrobe for safekeeping because it was in 2016 series which cannot be spent or changed in Nigeria.
‘Unfortunately for him he overlooked it because he thought he probably didn’t check the right place and it will eventually surface until he noticed about a month later he was missing another £300. Then he started suspecting something fishy was going on in the house. He alerted the rest of the family and all indications pointed to Maria because she was the only one who had access to the room.’
The trader with the Ghana Must Go bag recovered at her place. The family went ahead to query the security guard if he noticed anything suspicious with the maid when the family was out and he confessed that she had a phone she used to call at night when everyone had gone to bed.
‘Maria was not allowed to use a mobile phone,’ the source added. ‘All calls were to be made through the landline in the house.
‘The security promised the family he would catch Maria in the act that night and then they would be able to confront her. The next day, Maria came to report to the family that the security had cleared all his belongings and ran away. With the new development, the family invited the police to arrest Maria for questioning because it became obvious there was something between her and the security.
‘After so much persuasion Maria eventually confessed to the police that she was the one who took all the missing money and she also had stolen a lot of Naira from the house on different accounts. She confessed that she gave the Dollars to the security to change to Naira for her but he never did and refused to return it to her. She also confessed she gave the Pounds to the cook change for her and she also said she couldn’t change it and refused to give it back to her.
‘The family tried to lure the cook by inviting her to come back to work but she never showed. The police took up the case and investigated her address through her agents and arrested her at her home the following day. After so much persuasion, the cook maintained she didn’t have the pounds with her and that Maria was lying against her. She however confessed she knew about the dollar exchange between Maria and the security but ‘never’ got the chance to report to the family.
‘She also confessed she was aware Maria steals valuables from the house and keeps them with a petty trader known as Mama Caleb, 38, that has a shop opposite the house.’
All three suspects at the police station. The guard has gone into hiding. The police would later recover a huge ‘Ghana Must Go’ bag full of valuables stolen from the family daily over a period of six months at Mama Caleb’s place. According to the petty trader, she warned Maria not to bring anything else everyday but she continued. Maria also gave her N15,000 and makes a monthly contribution of N200 per day from money she steals from the family daily,” the source further added.
‘When Maria was questioned about her acquaintance with Mama Caleb, she confessed she was introduced by the previous maid who also used to steal valuables from the house and keep with Mama Caleb till when she is ready to runaway or go home at the end of the year.
‘Maria also confessed she steals from people that come to visit the family. She went on to disclose this is the fourth family she is working with in Lagos, she has stolen from all of them but this family is the most she has cleaned out from.’
All three suspects have been detained at the Alagolo police station Ipaja, while Ibrahim, the security guard, has gone into hiding. Police say they will be charged to court pending the outcome of their investigations.