Federal High Court, Lagos

BY EMEKA EJERE

The federal government has arraigned two Nigerians and a firm linked to them for allegedly defrauding a German to the tune of €2.380m.

The defendants – Babatunde Adesanya, Akinpelu Abass, and Musterpoint Investment Nigeria Limited – were arraigned before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court on Monday in Abuja on 10 counts of advance fee fraud, cybercrime and money laundering.

They are facing trial for allegedly defrauding a German, Freiherr Frederich Von Hahn, using a cloned e-mail of a Dutch pharmaceutical firm, ILBA Holding BV, which was engaged by the said victim to supply 11 million COVID-19 face masks.

The face masks, requested in the middle of the ravaging pandemic, were said to be meant for the Northern State of Rhine-Wesphalia in Germany.

The prosecution alleged that the victim of the alleged fraud, Hahn, went on to transact with Adesanya as an agent of the Dutch firm for the procurement of the 11 million face masks.

“The first defendant first requested the transfer of €1.5m. This was transferred by the victim to an Ireland account provided by the first defendant and his Dutch collaborators. He subsequently claimed not to have seen the transfer and requested a further sum of €880,000 by flash transfer, which was done,” a document summarising the charges and filed before the court, read in part.

The prosecution team, which was led by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, at the Monday’s proceedings, stated that the defendants committed the offences between March and April 2020.

It stated that the case was reported to the AGF office by German prosecution office through a letter dated May 29, 2020, requesting Malami to order investigation “and necessary prosecution” of the defendants.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the 10 counts read to them at the Monday’s proceedings