By Temitope Owotoki
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has preferred 11 charges bordering on fraud against Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, the embattled musician, for alleged credit card fraud.
The charges in suit number, FHC/L/178C/19 were filed before a Lagos State High Court on Thursday.
The alleged crimes were in contravention of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the Cyber Crimes Act.
The charges read in part, “That you, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, and Raze (still at large), on or about the 11th day of December 2018, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to use Access card 42658840359191132 issued to persons other than you in a bid to obtain gain and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(1)(b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 33(2) of the Same Act.
“That you, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, and Raze (still at large), on or about the 10th day of May 2019, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, with intent to defraud possessed, counterfeit card 4921819410257431 issued to Timea Fedorne Tatar and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 33(9) of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015.”
Naira Marley, who is controversial for repeatedly praising internet fraudsters, popularly called Yahoo boys, in his songs and on social media, has been detained by the EFCC for nearly a week. His arrest followed an early morning raid at 9, Gbangbola Street, Ikate, Lekki, Lagos.
At the point of arrest, the commission said it found and recovered a number of items, including laptops from the suspects.
The commission also said Naira Marley has so far volunteered useful information about his involvement in the alleged criminal activities, even as investigations continue.
Earlier, Tony Orilade, EFCC spokesman, confirmed that Naira Marley would be charged to court because “there is overwhelming evidence against him.”
Naira Marley risks seven years in jail if found guilty, as Section 33 (2) which he was accused of breaching, reads, “Any person who uses: a counterfeit access device; an unauthorised access device; an access device issued to another person; resulting in a loss or gain commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years or a fine of not more than N5,000,000.00 and forfeiture of the advantage or value derived from his act.
Meanwhile, Cash Ellz Entz, his management company, has released a statement demanding his freedom on Thursday. It said EFCC was using the ‘Issa Goal’ singer as “a scapegoat for cybercrime in the nation.”
“The items found on Naira Marley do not belong to him. Items retrieved were borrowed so he can upload music, videos, and record while visiting Nigeria.
“Naira Marley does not practice fraud and does not facilitate it,” it said.
The company also added that the artiste was innocent and only guilty of “Freedom of Speech.”