Three men have been arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly using the name of President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife, Aisha, to defraud several foreign nationals to the tune of $20, 500,000, estimated to be about N7.4bn.
The defendants are Uche Anyanwu Julius, alias Musa Mohammed; Kenneth Chikwado Ezeomu, alias Abdul Karim; and Agu Ifeanyi George, alias Dr Lina Norman.
They were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi on 16 counts bordering on forgery and cybercrime.
In the first count, the police alleged that Julius and some persons still at large, on August 8, 2018, sent forged electronic messages to one Engineer Gmemnzes, “purporting same to have been sent by Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Buhari, the First Lady and wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and His Excellency, President Muhammedu, Buhari.”
According to the police, the accused titled the messages, “Attention: Geraldo Francisco Menezes,” wherein he demanded immediate payment of $20.5m.
The police prosecutor, Benson Asogwa, said the crime was committed at No. 10 Hassan Idowu Street, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos, adding that the offence contravened Section 14(3) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
Others allegedly swindled by the defendants using the President and his wife’s names included, Roy Tailor; one Madaulc; Romana Longo; UBA; Wiedman Tom; Werner Muller; Mohammed Satti; one Edna Samson; Hyun Kim of South Korea; Grezegorz Siewierski; and M.J. Gabela.
The defendants, who appeared in court in Monday with no legal representation, however, pleaded not guilty to the 16 counts pressed against them by the police.
They have been remanded in police custody.