Four contract staff remanded over alleged N38m fraud

Four men, Richard Ironba Edemdem, Samuel Okpapi, Nelson Ojovbo Bamigbade Olushola, who were contract staff with a telecommunication firm, have been remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, over alleged cybercrime and N36, 837, 438.20 million fraud.

Justice Mohammed Liman who presided over the court made the remand order after they pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, unlawful tampering with telecommunications gadget and fraud, leveled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Liman said the defendants will remain in the NCS’s till 26, February, 2020, when their bail application would heard and determined.

The four men and a limited liability company, ISD Technology Limited, were arraigned before Justice Liman’s Court, on charges bordering on conspiracy, unlawful tampering with telecommunications gadget and fraud.

Arraigning the defendants before the court , the prosecutor, Anselem Ozioko, said the defendants committed the offences sometimes in 2017 and 2018.

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 Mr. Ozioko 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.

Following the not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Mr. Ozioko asked the court for a trial date. While also asked the court to remand them in the custody of NCS, pending the determination of the charges against them.

However, the defendants counsel, who includes; G. O. Ajila, Seye Demuren and Olumide Esan, told the court that they have filed their clients’ motion for bail.

The motion they said were filed on Wednesday, 12 February.

The prosecutor, Ozioko, told the court that he needed time to respond to each of the applications. He also asked the court for March 4 and 11, 2020, for trial of the defendants.

He particularly asked the court for the days, as he told the court that his first witness, a staff of Huawei International will be coming from South Africa to testify in the charge.

Upon the submissions made by both parties, Justice Liman while ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS), adjourned the matter till February 19 and March 4 and 11, 2020, for hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and trial respectively

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