Alleged ‘Black Axe’ scammers challenging extradition to US | #daitngscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | | #dating

  • Twenty months after their arrest, the alleged “Black Axe” Cape Town leaders are still arguing technical points on their extradition. 
  • They were arrested in Parklands in 2021 for an assortment of scams, mostly romance scams that targeted lonely people. 
  • The methods were allegedly to form a romantic relationship, then start hitting their targets up for money for help with a sudden calamity.

Twenty months after the arrest of eight men for extradition to the United States to be tried on transnational internet financial fraud charges, the courts are still arguing the technicalities of whether South Africa can indeed hand them over to US authorities.  

Perry Osagiede, Enorense Izevbiege, Franklin Edosa Osagiede, Osariemen Eric Clement, Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, Musa Mudashiru, Toritseju Gabriel Otubu, and Prince Ibeabuchi Mark were arrested in Parklands, Cape Town, in 2021.

Described by the FBI as a group of Nigerian men who form the Cape Town chapter of the Neo Black Movement of Africa, also known as “Black Axe”, they are wanted for trial in the US on charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy between 2011 to 2021. 

Some are also charged with identity theft. 

A statement by the US Attorney’s office said wire fraud alone carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

According to the statement, the accusations were that they made up stories about travelling for work and then suddenly asked their target for money for an unfortunate event “often involving a construction site or problems with a crane”. 

They allegedly used social media websites, online dating websites, and voice-over-internet protocol phone numbers to find and talk to victims in the US under various aliases like Alan Dupont, Philip Coughlan and Aiden Wilson. 

READ | ‘SA is not a nobody’s country’ – Western Cape judge dismisses Black Axe bail appeal

Their targets thought they were in a real romance, so if they hesitated with payment requests, they would be threatened with sensitive pictures of themselves being distributed. 

They also allegedly used their targets’ US bank accounts to transfer money to the US or convinced them to open an account in the US that the accused would use to launder money from scams. 

They also allegedly used fake business entities to disguise where the money came from. 

Many of the victims are understood to be lonely people who thought they were in a real long-distance relationship with the prospect of a real-life relationship at some point.

On Wednesday, the accused were squeezed into benches usually used as a public gallery in the tiny courtroom at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court, for the latest installment in their extradition challenge. 

Toddlers cried outside in the passage as their mothers tried to keep them occupied as they waited for Wednesday’s hearing to end so that they could go in and show their partners their children for a fleeting family moment. 

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The children seemed bewildered by all the activity when they were taken to the men, and blinked tears away as their mothers held them in the direction of their fathers.  The group showed a brief moment of elation before being led away by police.

Otubu secured bail of R210 000 with conditions, and he left until the next court date of 11 July.

Judgment on settling some of the technical points of their extradition was reserved. 

In a nutshell, the argument revolved around how the court should decide if they should be extradited, and the processes that should be followed in terms of the Extradition Act and the treaty between South Africa and the US. 

This is so that their rights under the treaty are not violated. 

Extradition law is increasingly coming into the public eye, with the Nandipha Magudumana  application in the Thabo Bester case relating to her return from Tanzania and the arrest of Fulgence Kayishema for alleged genocide in Rwanda among the recent cases. 


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