By Bruce Asemota
Thirteen Nigerians were recently arraigned before Magistrate Ebou Sowe of the Brikama court in connection with suspected cyber crime and related computer extortion, fraud and forgery offences.
They faced several counts; conspiracy to defraud, unlawful possession of devices and data, and computer related extortion, fraud and forgery.
According to prosecutors, the men are alleged have sometime in March, 2022 at Old Yundum, jointly conspired to commit felony whilst in possession of devices and data meant for forgery. The prosecution also alleged that the men, without lawful excuse, had in their possession nineteen (19) mobile phones and eighteen (18) laptops of various brand with intention to use them for the commission of an offence.
Prosecutors further alleged that the thirteen were found in possession of twelve (12) Nigerian Passports, nineteen (19) mobile phones and eighteen (18) laptops for the purpose of making or producing fake data.
When the case was first mentioned on the 14th April, 2022, the accused persons refused to take their plea on grounds that their legal counsel, Edward Gomez was absent and the matter was adjourned to the 19th April for mention and plea taking. However, on the said date, Lawyer Edward Gomez appeared in court and the accused persons took their plea, denying the charges leveled against them.
The 13 men are: Ezechukwu Harrison, Victor Chimere, Chukwu Chibuna Wisdom, Okafor Akwell Chidera, Madu Chidibere Temple, Madu Chidera Stanley, Godson Ifeanyi, Ibeagi Ebube, Madu Victor Chiagbanwe, Clement Ndubusi, Lawrence Kenneth, Atake Rita Ebaeta and Ogun Jale Timileyan.
The prosecution comprising ASP Bittaye, Corporal 4946 Bangura and 1748 A.Y Bojang raised objection to granting the accused persons bail on the basis that the accused persons may tamper with the investigation which is ongoing and also because the Gambia Immigration Department is investigating them as to whether they entered the country legally.
In his ruling, Presiding Magistrate Ebou Sowe disclosed that the objection raised by the prosecution has merit even though the charge is bailable, he was remanding them at the Mile 2 Central Prisons.
Hearing continues on the 28th April, 2022 for the prosecution to open its case.