Two Nigerians have been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Police for allegedly defrauding the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia of €2.3 million COVID-19 fund.
The fund was meant for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Frank Mba, Force spokesperson who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the suspects, Babatunde Adesanya, 50-year-old master degree holder in cell biology, and Akinpelu Abass, 41-year-old managing director of Musterpoint Investment Nigeria Limited, were arrested by the cybercrime unit of the Nigeria police force and INTERPOL.
According to Mba, the suspects were said to be members of a transnational criminal network.
They were alleged to have cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland, to defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German state.
“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,” said the Force spokesperson in the statement.
“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 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. 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.
“Investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria further revealed that Babatunde Adesanya received 498,000 Euro from Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder through his Citibank London account and transferred same to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.”
The police spokesperson further noted that the suspects will be arraigned in a court as soon as possible.