Two Nigerians have been arrested by the police for their involvement in a major multi-million Euro scam bordering on procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
According to the Nigerian police spokesperson, Frank Mba, the arrest was carried out in conjunction with the INTERPOL and the National Central Bureau, Abuja.
Those arrested are Babatunde Adesanya, a 50-year old graduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, the Managing Director Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.
The two are suspected members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network that 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 was made as a sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the central 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, specialise in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites, amongst other cybercrimes, the spokesperson stated.
Citing an instance, Mr Mba said the suspects fraudulently obtained 1.5 million euro and another 880,000 euro as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7 million euro from Mr Hahn.
“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.”
According to him, the fraudsters 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.”
Further Investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that Mr. Adesanya received 498,000 Euro from Eduardus Boomstra and Geradiu Mulder through his Citibank London account and transferred the same to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.
Mr. Mba announced that the two suspects will be arraigned before a competent court of law soon