$34.3m Fraud: How We Arrested Fraudsters Using Aisha Buhari’s Name
A police detective, Musa Naneri, on Tuesday, narrated before a Federal High Court, Lagos, how an alleged three-man fraud syndicate, who allegedly specialized in defrauding foreigners with the use of the name of Nigeria first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, were arrested.
The alleged members of the syndicate are: Uche Anyanwu Julius, Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu and Agu Ifeanyi.
Uche, Kenneth and Agu, who also bear Muslim names of Musa Muhammad, Abdul Karim and Dr. Lima Norman, are standing trial before Justice Nicholas Oweibo on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery, cybercrime and fraud to the tune of $34,325,500 between August 2015 and October 2018.
They were also accused of forging electronic messages claimed to have emanated from Mrs. Buhari, for the formalisation and revocation of the United States Financial impropriety, among others, which they used in defrauding their victims.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were admitted to bail in various terms and conditions.
At the resumed trial of the defendants, the police detective, Naneri, attached to Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, told the court that the leader of the gang, Uche, was arrested at a food and drink joint.
He said: “After conclusion of our investigation and he (Uche) had opened up about the fraud we are able to detect where his location was. We moved down to the place and he was called to join us at a joint for ‘item seven’, because he has love for Gulder and as he showed up we arrested him. He made confessional statement that he was into financial fraud.
“He stated how he defrauded White men whom he called ‘Mugu”.
The witness, a superintendent of police, told the court Uche’s arrest led to the arrest of Agu on October 21, 2018.
He said: “On October 21, we moved Uche to his residence at Aguda, Surulere, to execute a search warrant. The search was witnessed by Uche’s wife and his three sons. There we stumbled on a piece of paper with inscription ‘Aisha Buhari gmail’ and underneath it has ‘Her Excellence’. When probed of the discovery, he said he had used the name to swindle many White men from Italy, Germany and others of Dollars.
“When we wanted to take him (Uche) back to Alagbon, he said he can’t go down alone with this case that he has many syndicates and he pointed to a storey building, where the third defendant, Agu lives and he took us there.
“Upon reaching there, we met Agu, his wife and their daughter.
Then I introduced myself and my team and we told him that we wanted to meet him. As we were going, Uche jumped the fence with his laptop and I saw the second defendant, Kenneth, dropping something in the waste bin, it was his laptop.
“Kenneth, the second defendant was taken back to Agu (third defendant) and Agu wife identified Kenneth as Agu’s friend. That was how we arrested all of them”.
Naneri also told the court that though he was not very savvy with the computer, a suspect, named Ifeanyi Lakatai, who is a ‘computer guru’, assisted in opening Kenneth’s laptop and Uche’s phone and they discovered series of documentary evidence.
He also said, the gang leader, Uche told his team that he used parts of the fraud proceeds to build a 3-bedroom bungalow in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as well as bought a car.
Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to March 31, for continuation of trial.
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