Nicholas Kalu, Abuja
The police cybercrime unit, with the Interpol, National Central Bureau, Abuja has arrested two suspects for alleged complicity in a €14.7 million (or N6.7 billion) scam in the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Force spokesman DCP Frank Mba on Sunday identified the suspects as Babatunde Adesanya a.k.a Teddy, 50, a Master degree holder in Cell Biology, and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41, M.D. Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd, who, he alleged, are members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network.
Mba said in a statement that they cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to transact with and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
“The arrest of the suspects was sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice conveying a request from the German Government for investigations into a fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment linked to a Nigerian-based bank account.
“Discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, one Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder specialised in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites, amongst other cyber mischiefs, to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world. In this instance, the suspects fraudulently obtained from Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn the sum of 1.5m Euro and another 880,000 Euro as advance payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7million Euros.
“Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn eventually visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings BV in Holland to inquire reasons for the delay in supplying the items only to find out that the company never did business with him and that the transaction was a scam. The fraudsters merely cloned the company’s website and falsely presented themselves as representatives of the company before subsequently executing the fraudulent transaction.”
The suspects will be arraigned in court soon, the statement said.