The trial of Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley, continued before Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on June 9, 2022, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting reports of forensic investigations linking the defendant to a Visa Card fraud.
Marley is being prosecuted by the EFCC on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy and credit card fraud.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was arraigned on May 20, 2019.
The defendant allegedly committed the offence between November 2018 and May 2019.
At the resumed sitting on June 9, 2022, the prosecution witness, Dein Whyte, an operative of the EFCC, who was led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, revealed various messages sent from the defendant’s iPhone to one Raze, who had previously asked for a credit card number and validity date.
“One of our findings from the forensic report shows the exchange of chat messages with several persons, where the defendant sent credit card details, including card numbers and expiration dates.
“Visa card details were one of those sent by the defendant to a certain person identified on his contact list as Raze.
“We were able to establish, through investigation, the previous messages he sent with a wrong card that was indeed not valid. We then repeated the same process a second time, which was now valid.”
Dein also explained to the court how Naira Marley used a multi-lingual browser to access illegal networks.
He added: “The defendant used malicious tools to disguise the identity and location of the user of the laptop when connected to the internet along with the presence of the top browser, which acted as a single gateway to the dark net.
“This gave us reasonable grounds to suspect that the defendant had been engaging in fraudulent card activities. And this was established through a reply to our request for a Visa Western Union Card.”
“The types of sites most commonly associated with the dark web are marketplaces where illicit goods such as narcotics, firearms, and stolen credit card numbers are bought and sold. The darkest corners are used to hire hitmen, engage in human trafficking, and exchange child pornography.”
Prompted by Oyedepo to offer his conclusion on the forensic evidence, Dein further told the court that all of what had been said and more pointed at the defendant being involved in credit card fraud.
However, counsel to the defendant, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, objected to the witness’ testimony, saying that only a court could conclude a case based on the evidence.
The case was adjourned till July 13, 2022 for ruling on the points raised, and July 15, 2O22 for continuation of trial.