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EFCC Narrates How SMS Extract From Naira Marley iPhone Exposes Fraud

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted EFCC liberty to project the CD containing 2,410 messages analysed from the iPhone of Nigerian musician, Azeez Fashola a.ka Naira Marley, who is charged with Cyber Crime before Justice Nicholas Oweibo.

Justice Oweibo adjourned the trial after the testimony of the second prosecutor witness who narrated how the messages as well as different credit card numbers were extracted from the defendant’s phone.

The anti-graft agency had on May 14, 2019, preferred 11-counts of cyber fraud allegation charges against the Naira Marley, which borders on conspiracy, possession of counterfeit credit cards and fraud.

The commission alleged that Fashola and his accomplices conspired to use different Access Bank ATM cards 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.

However, Naira Marley pleaded not guilty to all the charges

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A second prosecution witness, Mr Augustine Anosike, who was led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, confirmed to the court that the said exhibit F was a conclusion of his analysis of the iPhone of the defendant.

He told the court that the device analysed is an iPhone X version 10.6, Model A 1901, with number 07427343432 and an email: naimarley@icloud.com.

The witness also gave the IMEI number of the phone as : 35304509527532 as well as the SIM ICCID number as 8923420035948359826.

According to him, the apple iPhone is a sophisticated device capable of storing a large volume of information, adding that it is the sim card that basically identifies users of applications like WhatsApp.

He, however, told the court that so far as a number has already been registered with a particular WhatsApp account, it matters less if such user leaves the country.

The witness noted that there are cases where a WhatsApp application can still be used even though the registered sim card is not inserted in the phone, adding that the chatting app used in the analysed device was WhatsApp.

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He told the court that from the iPhone analysed,, they discovered a total of 977 Short Message Service (SMS) and 1433 chat messages, adding that there were also seven pending status update messages.

The witness told the court that on Nov. 26, 2018, there was an outgoing message registered at about 3.32 p.m. with a credit card number 5264711020433662. He said that this message was sent to one Yadd.

According to him, on Dec. 11, 2018, there was an incoming message to the defendant’s device which read: “Your One Time Passcode (OTP) to verify your mobile number is 248716; wasn’t you, please call us on 63450808500″

He said that on same day, it was discovered that another message was sent at 5.06pm by one Hiya Bayi, to a recipient with the name Raze, adding that the content of the text was another credit card number 42658840359132.

He gave the numbers of the sender and receipient as +447426343432 and +447365280441 respectively.

The witness told the court that the incoming message reflected at 6.18 pm showed ” Not recognized”

According to him, other messages received on same date include : ” due to try in 20 minutes,”

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He told the court that on Dec. 12, 2018 at 10.16 p.m, there was an incoming message which read “Tried and it was unsuccessful; sure you are not rinsing it out then giving it to me to try,”

The witness also read out a plethora of other credit card numbers sent on different dates and time, as well as OTP codes sent .

After his testimony, the prosecutor then informed the court that all the analysed texts were fully contained in a Compact Disc (CD) but that the prosecution had only printed out those portions which were material to its case.

He then sought for the opinion of the court and defence , if the prosecution was at liberty to bring a projector for the purpose of playing the CD in the open court, in order to fully discharge its burden.

This application was allowed by the court and also not opposed by defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN).

Justice Nicholas Oweibo consequently, adjourned the case till tomorrow for projection of the CD in open court.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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