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Alleged fraud: Credit card numbers on Naira Marley's iPhone displayed in court

By Francis IWUCHUKWU
 
Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, displayed before the Lagos division of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, virtual projection of a Compact Disc, CD, with 51,933 pages analysis of the iPhone of Azeez Fashola a.k.a Naira Marley.

The virtual display was executed by the anti-graft agency before the court presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo.

The Commission carried out the display through its second witness, Augustine Anosike, a forensic analyst.

Naira Marley is facing an 11 counts charge, bordering on conspiracy, possession of counterfeit credit cards, as well as fraud.

It would be recalled that the EFCC had made the charge against Naira Marley on May 14, 2019. Naira Marley, who sang the popular song: “Am I a Yahoo Boy”, was consequently, arraigned on May 20, 2019, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, but he had pleaded not guilty. The court then granted him bail of two million naira, with two sureties in like sum.

During yesterday's proceedings, lawyer to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, had informed the court that the prosecution only printed out hard copies of relevant portions of the exhibit, which it considered key to its case. The lawyer had equally notified the judge that a full version of the total analysis was contained in a CD.

The printed copies of the exhibit are labelled exhibit F while the CD containing full analysis is exhibit F1. The court had granted prosecution leave to display the CD in a projector, to discharge its burden of proof as required by law.

At the last adjourned date, the witness had made known to the court how different text messages and chats containing credit card details, were exchanged between the defendant, and another recipient identified as Yadd.

During Wednesday's sitting on the criminal charge, Anosike confirmed the portions of his earlier testimonies of Oct. 26, and indicated the visual spots of those testimonies, on the screen of the projected CD.

Specifically, the forensic analyst showed visual displays of the credit card numbers, chats, as well as the incoming and outgoing Short Message Services, SMS, which were analysed from the defendant’s iPhone.

The witness typically identified the “message trafficking” between the numbers +447426343432 and +447548061528. On the whole, he told the court that the CD contained a total of 51,933 pages of the analysis conducted on the defendant device.

After the CD was displayed for about 45 minutes, the prosecutor then asked the witness to confirm if exhibits A and D, were vital elements of his analysis, and he replied in the affirmative, stating that, "Exhibit A is the Forensic Report Form, while exhibit D is the iPhone of the defendant.

Whilst being cross-examined by Naira Marley's lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), an application was made for a variation of its order and prayed that the court takes custody of the iPhone of the defendant which had been in the custody of the prosecution.

The SAN had insisted that the Federal High Court can keep the exhibits in its custody, with an addition that it would also make it easy for the defence to apply for the exhibits if needed.

The application was however not opposed to by the EFCC, and the same was accordingly granted.

Answering questions during cross-examination by the SAN, Anosike confirmed that he had confined his analysis within the compass of his forensic reports.

When the witness was asked to confirm if his analysis had also covered a possible number of persons that had used the said iPhone of the defendant, Anosike responded, stating that the number of persons was not ascertained.

Olalekan Ojo queried the witness thus:

“As an experienced operative, are you aware that it is possible for a person other than the owner of a phone to have access to the use of that phone”

Anosike responded thus: “That will only be possible where the owner grants access.”

Olalekan Ojo also asked: "Who supplied you with the password."

Anosike answered: "The defendant provided the password to the investigating operatives who consequently, transmitted the same to me for my analysis." The witness went further to tell the court that he only had knowledge of the period the iPhone was brought to him for forensics and not when it was taken from the defendant.

When asked to confirm the number on the iPhone the witness told the court that the registered number on the phone is iCloud +447426343432.

MeanwhIle, when defence counsel reminded the witness that he had told the court during examination, that the telephone number of the defendant was 07426343732, the witness replied that any sim can be inserted in a device.

When asked to confirm if there is a difference between the owner and user of a device, the witness answered “The names on a phone can be changed depending on what the owner chooses to use.”

The defence then asked the witness to show to the court from the two pages of his analysis summary, where he had indicated that there was a change of names in the device.

The witness replied that although it was not captured, the content of his report also reflects the content of the device as recovered therein.

The matter was adjourned to Nov. 30, Dec. 13, and Dec. 14.

According to the anti-graft agency, Naira Marley committed the offence on different dates between Nov. 26, 2018, and Dec.11, 2018, as well as May 10, 2019.

It was alleged by the Commission that Naira Marley and his accomplices conspired to use different ATM cards of a new generation bank to defraud their victims.

It alleged that the defendant used a bank credit card issued to another person, in a bid to obtain fraudulent financial gains.

The EFCC also said that the defendant possessed counterfeit credit cards belonging to different people, with intent to defraud which amounted to theft.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 1 23 (1) (b), 27 (1) and 33(9) of Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015.

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