Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

N38.8m Fraud: Court Adjourns Trial Of 4 MTN Staff Over Technical Terms

N38.8m Fraud: Court Adjourns Trial Of 4 MTN Staff Over Technical Terms

The scheduled trial of four MTN contract staff, who were charged before a Lagos Federal High Court, for alleged cybercrime and N36, 837, 438.20 million fraud, suffered a setback today, due to technical terms used by the prosecution witness.

Consequently, further trial of the four men has been adjourned till March 3, while Justice Muhammad Liman, who presided over the court ordered the witness, Uchechukwu Ngonebu, to file his disposition and served same of the defence.

The four men, Richard Ironba Edemdem,  Samuel Okpapi, Nelson Ojovbo Bamigbade Olushola, were brought before the charged before the Court, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), sometimes in February 12, 2020, on alleged conspiracy, unlawful tampering with telecommunications and N36, 837, 438.20 million fraud.

The defendants were charged before the court alongside a limited liability company, ISD Technology Limited.

The EFCC through its prosecutor, Mr. Anselm B. C. Ozioko, had told the court that the defendants committed the offences sometimes in 2017 and 2018, while working as contract staff to the telecommunication firm.

Ozioko also told the Court that the defendants conspired among themselves to tamper with some critical parts of  Mobile Telecommunications Network System, which were used in defrauding unsuspecting victims of the sum of N36, 837, 438.20 million. 

The offences according to the prosecutor are contrary to sections  27(1)(b), 10 and of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act. And section 15(2)(d) and (6) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as (Amended) and punishable under he some Section at the Act. 

The defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charges and they were admitted to bail in various terms.

At the resumed trial of the defendants today, the first witness, Mr. Uchechukwu, an engineer with Huawei International,  called by the prosecutor, narrated how MTN engaged the services of his company in 2017, to provide added services for its subscribers.

The witness told the court that along the line, MTN complained to his company, Huawei International, that some of its subscribers are received and surcharge for the services they did not subscribed for.

However, the presiding judge, stopped the witness midway to his testimony, which contained some Telecommunication’s technical terms, due to inability of defence counsel to grab with the terms.

Justice Liman, then ordered the witness to file his disposition within one week and serve same on the defence counsel.