Islamabad: Nigerian denied bail in Facebook fraud case
ISLAMABAD: Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Tuesday denied bail to a Nigerian man, Christopher Ofroa, alias Mark William, for allegedly defrauding a Pakistani national from Chaghi, Balochistan, Mukhtar Ahmad Baloch, of Rs2.64 million alluring him with an outstanding amount of $7.6 million through a Facebook message.
Justice Qureshi of the IHC while rejecting his bail application observed that his entry into Pakistan was also suspicious.
As per details mentioned in the FIR registered with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on February 22 under Sections 36, 37 of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002, and Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against Christopher Ofroa for cheating and fraud. After registration of the FIR, the FIA arrested him from the federal capital and he was sent to Adiala Jail. Christopher then applied for a bail from the IHC that was heard and rejected on Tuesday.
As per contents of the complaint with the FIA, Mukhtar Ahmad Baloch in September last year received a Facebook message from Edward Jackson posted at his wall saying “Engineer Palijo Ishaq Baloch has died in an accident whose US $7.64 million are lying in a bank at Togoliese De Bank, West Africa.” Mukhar Ahmad was later communicated through the Facebook that the deceased has left the huge amount with a declaration to the bank that in case of his death the money should be given to a Baloch who would spend it on the welfare of Baloch people. After the said communication, Mukhtar received an email at his address email@example.com in which an unidentified person asked him to contact Barrister Sani Mohammad, a legal practitioner, to get further information regarding delivery of the money. Mukhtar was asked to contact Sani Mohammad at his email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Sani told Mukhtar that he was the legal counsel for Palijo Ishaq.
As per contents of the FIR, foreign remittance division of the aforesaid bank also congratulated Mukhtar becoming custodian of the huge inheritance of Engineer Palijo. After that a man, John Amah, introduced himself as accounts officer of the bank and invited him to come for signing of final release order of the money. Later, Mukhtar Baloch was asked to contact Barrister Patrick Egebiawa and pay Rs900,000 to him for consultancy. Christopher Ofrosa alias Mark William asked Mukhtar to pay $6,700 to a Faysal Bank account under the title of Farrukh Gill for diplomatic tag clearance charges. Since there was no branch of Faysal Bank in Dalbandin, William advised Mukhtar to submit the amount in Muslim Commercial Bank. William once again demanded $8,500 for legalisation of international diplomatic tag and Mukhtar deposited the amount in a branch of the Habib Bank Limited in Sector F-7/2, Islamabad. Mukhtar Ahmad became suspicious after William asked him to pay $25,000 as processing fee. He then contacted the FIA and lodged an FIR.
According to the detained appellant, the complainant received message on his Facebook account from Edward Jackson and not from him and he has nothing to do with the allegations.