A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Bishir Abba, on Thursday gave evidence in court on how Ugorji Ugochukwu Clinton, Obinanwa Vincent Abiodun and Kehinde Adewusi played different role in alledged fraudulent transfer of N20 million and e-mail hacking.
The third prosecution witness testified before a Lagos State High Court judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi while being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Samuel .O. Daji.
According to the witness, “On the 2nd of August, 2016 we received a petition along with the second and third defendants in our office, which was assigned to Cyber Crime Team B for discreet investigation and report.
“It was a case of fraudulent transfer of N20 million and email hacking.
“The second and third defendants were brought to us and in the course of interview, the third defendant stated that the second defendant came to her office and requested for an account in Access Bank of which she gave him an account of Oladele Olasunkanmi who happened to be the husband to the second defendant.
“After that, the second defendant was also interviewed and he stated that he has a friend, one Ugochukwu the first defendant that needed an account number that he is going to receive money.
He explained that investigation led to the arrest of the first defendant who resides in Owerri as at that time.
Continuing, the EFCC operative said, “After his arrest he was conveyed to Lagos and he was also interviewed and he stated that he knows the second defendant, that in the course of discussion between them, he told the second defendant that he knows how to hack an e-mail and how to transfer money out of people’s accounts.
The witness added that, “The first defendant also stated that the second defendant bought a laptop for him and a phone, and told him that they will be working together.
“After a while the first defendant told the second defendant that he has hacked the e-mail of one Sageto Nigeria Limited and that he needs an account in Access Bank and the second defendant gave him the account.
“He stated that he sent a malware to random email addresses which if the recipient clicks on it, all the person’s e-mail will now be viewed by him and he can do as he wishes.
“So after collecting the e-mail, he sent a request for the transfer of N20 million from Sageto Nigeria Limited’s bank account to the account provided to him by the second defendant from the third defendant.
“However, the Account Officer of Sageto tried to contact the owner of the account to confirm the request, which he stated that the request was not from him, that the instruction was not from Sageto.
“So my task was to take the first defendant to our Cybercrime lab, where his e-mail was accessed and several scam documents were recovered from the email and several other such requests for the transfer of money to other banks where the company had accounts, were also printed in the presence of the first defendant and he endorsed them that they were printed from his e-mail in his presence.”
CASEFILE gathered that the defendants in the case were initially four, including one fleeing Anita Ugochukwu which unknown whereabouts necessitated an amendment of the charges, leaving three defendants standing trial since 2017.
Information has it that the defendants also had sought for a trial-within-trial in 2020.
Since the commencement of trial of the three defendants over an alleged N20 million fraud, during today’s trial, more documents were tendered as exhibits against them.
Such as certificate of identification, e-mail requests of transfer to GTBank, Access Bank, and the likes.
Abba identified the various scam documents printed out from e-mails, as the prosecution sought to tender them in evidence against the defendants.
Defence counsel however did not object to admitting the Certificate of Identification as Exhibit H, while the several fraudulent documents were admitted and marked as Exhibit H1 to H55.
“The recovered documents are all scam documents containing false pretence, including the said e-mail requesting for the transfer of N20 million to Access Bank,” the EFCC detective said.
They are being prosecuted by the Commission on an amended two-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, contrary to Section 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006, and attempt to obtain money by false pretence contrary to Section 8 (b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
Count one states: “That you, Ugorji Ugochukwu Clinton, Obinanwa Vincent Abiodun and Kehinde Adewusi, on or about the 29th day of July, 2016 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud conspired to obtain the sum of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) from Sageto Limited.”
Count two states: “That you, Ugorji Ugochukwu Clinton, Obinanwa Vincent Abiodun and Kehinde Adewusi, on or about the 29th day of July, 2016 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud attempted to obtain the sum of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) from Sageto Limited under the false pretence that the instruction to transfer the sum of N20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) emanated from the Managing Director of Sageto Limited for the benefit of Ololade Olasunkanmi which pretence you knew was false.”
They all denied charges against them at arraignment.
Under cross-examination by the defence, he maintained that his findings during the investigation into the alleged crime were credible, adding that when the defendants were interviewed, it was deduced from them that “the money was to be shared” amongst them.
He insisted, ” My Lord, the document recoverd in that e-mail are all scam documents containing false pretence.
“The sent e-mail request of N20 million to Access Bank was recoverd, other documents of similar content to other banks to send money to different accounts by first defendant were also recoverd,” he explained the findings of his team investigation.
The judge adjourned till October 27, 2022 for continuation of trial.