Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force headquarters in Abuja has said that its cybercrime unit have arrested two suspects for defrauding a German company of €14.7 million.
The suspects, identified as Babatunde Adesanya (aka ‘Teddy’), 50, and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41, who are members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network, were said to have defrauded the German firm on the pretext of procuring COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Adesanya, a Masters degree holder in Cell Biology and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, the Managing Director of Musterpoint Investment Nigeria Ltd, were said to have cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland, to transact and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Force spokesman Frank Mba, who made this known in a statement in Abuja, said the suspects were rounded up by the Cybercrime Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL, National Central Bureau.
He said their arrest followed 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 to investigate the fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment linked to a Nigerian-based Bank Account.
According to the police spokesman, ‘discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, one Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder specialized 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 advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7million Euros. Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPE, 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. Consequently, he reported the case of fraud to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder in Holland and investigations extended to Nigeria.’