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Court remands alleged WhatsApp hacker over N700,000 fraud

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the remand of an alleged WhatsApp hacker, Stephen Andrew Ojo, at the Ikoyi centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services.

Justice Akintayo Aluko remanded the defendant following his arraignment before the court by the officers of the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, Lagos.

Ojo was arraigned on four counts which bordered on conspiracy, identity theft, and obtaining by false pretence.

The police prosecutor, Zebedee Arekhandia, told the court on Wednesday when the defendant was arraigned that the defendant and others now at large, on September 12, 2023, at Ajao Estate, Lagos, conspired among themselves and engaged in identity theft, by hacking the WhatsApp of one Mrs. Laraba Shuaibu, and impersonated her.

Arekhandia also told the court that the alleged WhatsApp hacker and others now at large used the hacked WhatsApp platform to fraudulently obtain the sum of N700, 000, from one Mrs. Osasu Tina Eriamiatoe.

The prosecutor further informed the court that the money was paid into the defendant’s Union Bank account and PalmPay account number 9550723433 belonging to one Michael Ijua.

According to him, the offences committed contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(3)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and Sections 24 (2)(a)(b) (i)(ii) and (iii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015. And Section 15 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2022 as amended in 2012.

Meanwhile, the defendant, while pleading guilty to the offences, told the court that he was not the person who committed the alleged crime.

Following his guilty plea and his statement, Justice Aluko, who is the vacation judge, recorded a ‘not guilty plea’ for him and ordered that he should be remanded at the Ikoyi centre of the NCoS till January 24, 2024, when the court’s Chief Judge would reassign his case file to the substantive judge.

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