Nigeria: Five bank hackers arraigned over N466m fraud
By Adetokunbo Fakeye
London, Jan. 18, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Five syndicates specialised in hacking Bank accounts were on Wednesday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Kaduna Zonal Office, before justice Mohammed Tukur of a Kaduna State High Court, on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing to the tune of N466, 000, 000 (Four Hundred and Sixty Six Million Naira) only.
The suspects, Bashir Abdullahi Mohammed, Oche Ogenyi, Adefila Taofile Kayode, Rabiu Aliko Lawal and Mmadu Mathew were arrested following a petition by Polaris Bank, alleging that they hacked into the bank’s application, and fraudulently increased the N781,000 in one of the customer’s bank account to N466 million.
One of the counts against them reads: “That you Bashir Abdullahi Mohammed, Oche Ogenyi, Adefila Taofile Kayode, Rabiu Aliko Lawal, Mmadu Mathew Onyekachi, and others now at large, sometime in 2018 in Kaduna within the judicial Division of the High Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit theft of the sum of N466 million and you thereby committed an offence contrary to 58(1) of the Penal Code Law Kaduna State 2017 and punishable under Section 59(1) of the same Law”.
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges and in view of that, the prosecuting counsel, Onyeka Ekweozor, thereafter asked the court to fix a date for “commencement of trial”, and asked that they be remanded in EFCC custody.
“The defendants have separate charges before a Federal High Court pending arraignment, and remanding them in prison custody will make it difficult for the prosecution to arraign them,” he said.
Counsel for the first defendant, A. Ashat, in his oral bail application urged the court to grant his client bail, arguing that he will not jump bail.
Sylvester Ogbelu, Defence counsel for the second and fourth defendants, also moved the bail application for them, and urged the Court to grant them bail on “liberal terms”, as they had no criminal record.
Ekweozor, however, opposed the bail application arguing that there were no fix addresses, and “some of them were arrested in hotels, some at the airport; granting them bail will jeopardise our attempt to arrest others at large and will even interfere with witnesses on the matter”.
“We urged my lord to reject their bail,” Ekweozor said.
Justice Tukur, afterwards, ordered that they be remanded in EFCC custody pending the determination of the bail applications, and adjourned to January 21, 2019.