Two in court over $10m fraud

Accra District Court has remanded two persons charged with 15 counts of conspiracy to defraud a Real Estate Company with its headquarters in the United Stated of America.

Some of the charges include defrauding by false pretense, conspiracy to have access to a protected computer, conspiracy to unauthorised communication, conspiracy to have an unauthorized interference with electronic record, unauthorised access to a computer programme or electronic records among others

The accused persons; Maxwell Peter, 25 years and Babatunde Martins, a Nigerian pleaded not guilty to all the charges and were remanded into  the custody of the Economic and Organised  Crime Office(EOCO) to reappear on December 19, for ruling of a bail application filed by their counsels.

Mr Alidu Mohammed, the counsel for Maxwell prayed the court to grant bail to his client, since he had been granted bail in a similar case in Tamale in the sum of GH¢200, 000 but the accused did not get the chance to gain his freedom but was transferred to Accra to face another charge.

“Even though sureties are on standby to back him, the accused was brought to Accra under the cover of darkness to face similar charges,” he added.

He said the prosecution has not demonstrated why Maxwell should be remanded into custody and that he was the bread winner, a family man.

Mr Charles Bentum, the Counsel for Babatunde said the accused person was currently undergoing an activity at the High Court, where he has filed an application challenging his detention from November 30 to date.

He, also, raised the issue that the District court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Prosecution led by a State Attorney objected to the bail applications of the accused, said the charges in the other courts were two different ones and that the court should not be misdirected that the cases were the same.

He said the investigations were confidential and there is a network of individuals mentioned in the case with some in the United States of America being held on other charges, while others were on the run, and so if granted bail they would interfere with investigations.

“We need these accused persons to assist in investigations,” he added.

He told the court intelligence reports indicate that there were still correspondence among those at large and if they were released, it might jeopardise the investigations.

He said the court had jurisdiction to hear the matter at all cost.

“Babatunde and Maxwell does not deserve the court’s blessing of a bail,” he said.

He said the email address of all the 11 accused persons of which some were in detention in the United State of America and Canada have been analysis and if they were released, the investigation would be interfered.

The district court however remanded the accused persons into EOCO custody pending its ruling on the bail application. She also ordered all parties to file anything they wish to on or before December 7.

The case has since been adjourned to December 19.

The prosecution earlier told the court that intelligence was received by EOCO from the United States that a group of individuals were involved in Cybercrime, financial crime and money laundering upon which the two were arrested

The group were said to have hacked into the email servers of the said company and used their email addresses and bank accounts to misdirect funds intended for the estate company by way of computer intrusion as the business email was compromised and also spoofed the email accounts of the company.

According to the prosecution between 2007 and 2016, the accused persons and their accomplices created a bogus email either containing an attachment or a link to a malicious website which was linked to the said company and infected the company’s email accounts.

He said this malware spread into the company’s entire computer network and harvested information including company files, credentials, and gave them access to sensitive company information.

He said on November 28, Maxwell was arrested in a different matter but was granted bail by a district court in Tamale.

He said some of the accused persons have been arrested in other jurisdictions pending trial while some are on the run.

Investigations he said revealed that the accused acting together with a common purpose received $10,000,000.00 as proceeds from their activities.

Source: GNA


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