Three suspected fraudsters who reportedly impersonated President Buhari and Aisha Buhari, have been arrested by the Police Force Criminal Investigations and Intelligence department and arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, over charges of cybercrime and the impersonation.
The three suspects who were arraigned on 16 counts bordering on cybercrime, had no legal representatives. They’ve been identified as Julius Anyawu, a.k.a Musa Mohammed, 48; Kenneth Ezeonu a.k.a Abdul Karim, 45; and George Agu a. k. a Dr Lina Norman, 48.
However after they pleaded not guilty to the charges, the prosecutor, Mr Benson Asogwa, urged the court to remand the accused in prison and fix a date for trial. Justice Babs Kiewumi who adjourned the case until January 18 for trial, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison pending trial.
The suspects who reportedly conspired with others who are now at large to commit the offences on August 8 at No. 10, Hassan Idowu St., Aguda, Surulere, Lagos, were arrested by CP Dan Okoro, Head of Anti-Fraud Unit in Alagbon, in Lagos.
They also reportedly forged electronic messages to one Engr. Gmenezes, with the tag “Attention: Geraldo Francisco Menezes”, purporting same to be sent by his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, and Mrs Aisha Buhari.
Punch reported that the message was said to be labelled: IMMEDIATE PAYMENT OF NOTIFICATION of 20.5 million dollars (equivalent of N7.4 billion). Electronic messages was also sent to one Madaule, with the tag “Attention: Dr Guenter Schauer” purporting same to be sent by President Buhari and the First Lady.
The suspected fraudsters who requested for a special arrangement to send them funds by direct cash payment through ECOWAS headquarters in Cotonou, also sent false electronic messages to UBA Bank, purporting same to be sent by their Excellencies, for immediate payment notification of 20.5 million dollars.
The offences contravened the provisions of sections 14(1), 14(2), 14(3) and 22 of the Cybercrime Prohibition Act, 2015.