Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

$34.3m Fraud: How First Lady’s Impersonators Were Arrested With Foods, Beers – Detective

$34.3m Fraud: How First Lady’s Impersonators Were Arrested With Foods, Beers – Detective

A police detective, Mr. Musa Naneri, a Superintendent of Police, today, narrated before a Federal High Court, Lagos, how suspected three-man fraud syndicate, who specialized in defrauding foreigners with the use of the name of Nigeria first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, were arrested with foods and beers.

The alleged syndicates are: Uche Anyanwu Julius, Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu and Agu Ifeanyi.

Uche, Kenneth and Agu who also bears Muslim names of Musa Muhammad; Abdul Karim and Dr. Lima Norman respectively are standing trial before Justice Nicholas Oweibo led-court on charges bordering on a 17 count-charge of conspiracy, forgery, cybercrime and fraud of $34. 325, 500 million fraud.

Police in the charge marked FHC/L/392c/18, alleged that the three men committed the offences between August 2015 and October 2018.

The police alleged that Uche, a resident of 10, Hassan Idowu Street, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos and his team members conspired among themselves to commit the act. 

While Uche was alleged to have defrauded his victim of total sum of $20.5 million, Kenneth and Agu were said to have swindled their victims of the sum of $324.800, 00 USD.

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.

The offences according to the prosecutor, Barrister Tijjani Williams, are contrary to Sections 8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3), 22 (2) (h)  of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. 

All the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and admitted to bail in various terms and conditions.

At the resumed trial of the defendants, Supol Musa attached to Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (ForceCIID) Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, while being led in evidence by the prosecutor, Tijjani, told the court how the leader of the gang, Uche was arrested at a foods and drinks joint.

He said: “after the arrest and conclusion of interrogation with Kenneth, who told us about Uche’s location, we moved down to the place and he was called to join us at a joint for item seven, because he has love for Guilder and as he show up we arrested him.

“Uche made confessional statement that he was into financial fraud.

“He stated in his statement how he defrauded white men whom he called ‘Mugu”. 

The witness who is the first to be called in the matter further told the court Uche’s arrest led to the arrest of Agu on October 21, 2018.

He said: “on October 21, 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, therr 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 many others of Dollars.

“When we wanted to take him (Uche) back to Alagbon, Uche said he can’t go down alone with this case, he has many syndicates and he pointed to a storey building, where the third defendant, Agu was living 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 (Ifeanyi) 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”.

Supol Musa also told the court that through, he is not all that computer literate, but a suspect, named Ifeanyi Lakatai, who is a computer guru, assisted in opening Kenneth’s laptop and Uche’s phone and we discovered series of documentary evidence.

The witness also informed the court that two weeks after, Uche alongside his counsel, reported at the office and his laptop was also opened and another series of fraud committed was discovered.

He also told the court that the syndicate do not defraud their victims with their real names by have Muslim’s names they used in defrauding their victims.

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 neat Sienna car for N1.1 million.

He also told the court that his team discovered series of United Bank PLC (UBA) pay-in-slips (teller) which are used in withdrawing the proceeds of fraud by Uche’s wife. He said the fraud victims usually paid the money into Uche’s wife’s account with UBA.

When asked of the whereabouts of the exhibit (laptops, phone, cars and the documentary evidence), the witness said they are with the exhibits keeper who was unable to make it to the office today.

Following the inability to produce the exhibits, the prosecutor, Mr. Tijjani, asked court for a short adjournment.

Consequently, the matter was adjourned till March 31, for continuation of trial.

The charge reads in part: “that you Uche Anyanwu Julius ‘m’ aka “Musa Mohammad,  Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu ‘m’ aka “Abdul Karim”, Agu lfeanyi George ‘m‘ aka “Dr. Lina Norman” and others at large on August 8, 2018 at No. 10 Hassan Idowu Street Aguda Surulere, Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit Obtaining Money by False Pretences and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. 

“That you Uche Anyanwu Julius ‘m’ aka “Musa Mohammed” and others at large on August 8, 2018 at No. 10 Hassan ldowu Street Aguda Surulere, Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did send forged electronic messages to one Eng. Gmenezm, Attention: Geraldo Francisco Menezes purporting same to have been sent by Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the First Lady and wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency. President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, in respect of immediate payment of notification of $20, 500,000.00 (Twenty Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollar) equivalent of N7.44,000,000.00 (Seven Billion, Forty Four Million Naira) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section ”(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act. 20l5. 

“That you Uche Anyanwu Julius ‘m’, a.k.a. “Musa Mohammed” and others at large on August 5, 2015 at the aforesaid place and Judicial Division did sent forged electronic message to “UBA BANK” purporting same to have been sent by Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the First Lady and wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, relating to immediate Payments Notification valued at $20.500.000.00 (Twenty Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollar) among others and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 3 the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act. 20l5. Count 7 

“That you Uche Anyanwu Julius ‘m‘ aka “Musa Mohammed” and others at large between August 8, 20l8 and June, 20|8 at the aforesaid place and Judicial Division did impersonate to be Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the First Lady and wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria His Excellency. President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, by sending the Item”, electronic messages to the aforesaid persons in her name end with intent to gain advantage to yourself and did fraudulently obtain $20.5Million USD equivalent of N7. 44 Billion Naira from one Mr. Williams and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 22 (2) (h) o! the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC Act, 2015. 

“That you Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu ‘m’ aka “Abdul Karim” on September 22, 2018 at No. 4a, Alhaji Kayode Street, Aguda Surulere, Lagos at the aforesaid Judicial Division did send forged electronic messages to one Mohammed Satti relating to the nomination of the said Mohammed Salli as the beneficiary of $14.800.000.00 USD, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, E] C) Act, 2015. 

“That you Kenneth Chikwado Ezeonu ‘m’ aka “Abdul Karim” on September 30, 2018 at the aforesaid place and Judicial Division did send forged eIectronics message to one Hyun Kim of South Korea relating to be loan of $10,000.00 (ten Thousand US Dollar) from Citi Bank Dubai, UAE with a view to steal the sum from him and thereby committed an offence punishable under Scuba 14(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act, 2015. 

“That you Agu lfeanyi George ‘m’ aka “Dr. Lina Norman” on October 1, 2018 at No. 4, A|haji Kayode Close, Aguda Surulere, Lagos at the aforesaid Judicial Division did send forged electronic messages to one Grzegorz Siewierski relating to you being in a Refugee Camp due to a battle that forced you and your kids to the Camp, a representation you knew to be false but did so with intent to stealing US$15, 500, 000.00 (Fifteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollar) from him and hereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act, 2015”.