A cybercrimes expert, Whyte Dein, has told the Federal High Court in Lagos that a forensic investigation by his team links hip-hop singer, Azeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley, to Visa card fraud.
Dein, a Chief Detective Officer and Head of the Cybercrime Section of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was testifying before Justice Nicholas Oweibo in Naira Marley’s trial for alleged cybercrime offences.
His testimony was part of reports of forensic investigations submitted to corroborate the anti-graft case against Naira Marley, charged with credit card fraud before the Ikoyi Federal High Court.
The artiste faced 11 charges bordering on alleged credit card fraud contrary to Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the Cyber Crimes Act.
Naira Marley allegedly committed these offenses between November 26 and December 11, 2018, and May 10, 2018. He was arraigned on May 20, 2019, but was granted bail.
At the resumed trial on Thursday, Dein, led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Nicholas Oweibo that they discovered conversations on the defendant’s iPhone with one Raze who asked for a credit card details.
He said, “One of our findings from the forensic report shows the exchange of chat messages with several persons when 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 known on his contact list as Raze. This message sent Visa Card details to Raze, after which Raze replied that the card was not valid.”
“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 that the singer used a multi-lingual browser to access illegal networks.
He said: “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 a reasonable ground to suspect that the defendant had been engaging in fraudulent card activities. And this was established through a reply to our request to 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.”
Another forensics expert, Buru Buhari had on October 3, 2019 during the proceedings, told the court that his investigations revealed stolen card details issued by European, American, and Latin American banks from the singer’s laptop.
Dein concluded that the investigations pointed out Naira Marley involvement in cyber fraud. However, the defense counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN)objected and said only the court could conclude.
The case was adjourned till July 13 for ruling on the points raised, and July 15 for continuation of trial.