…Girls allegedly swindled billionaire businessmen and politicians thousands of dollars
By Ifeanyi Okolie
A Yaba Chief Magistrate Court, has issued a warrant of arrest on two Canadian nationals Kiranjot and Tara Matharoo, who are standing trial before it, in a case of threat to kidnap, cyber-stalking and blackmail against Nigeria billionaire and oil mogul, Femi Otedola, socialite Dapo Balogun and one Omoregie Ige, for failure to appear in court.
The court has also ordered the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, to arrest two other persons, Alhaji Waheed Shobulo and Ade Oregbensa, who stood as sureties for the sisters after they were granted bail by the court, in December 2016.
The sisters who fled the country to Canada, immediately after perfecting their bail conditions, were first arrested by police in a five star hotel, located at the Victoria Island Lagos, on December 9, 2016, when Otedola, filed a complaint to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, detailing how the sisters, who had a Nigerian collaborator, were blackmailing him and his daughter using a gossip website known as nijagistlive.com.
Otedola had told the police that the Canadian sisters had blackmailed him and threatened to kidnap members of his family, including his wife and children using their gossip website. They were also said to have blackmailed Dapo Balogun and Omoregie Ige, through their gossip website and demanded the sum of N3.5million from Ige before pulling down the story from their website.
The IGP, was said to have directed his operatives at the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, to investigate the matter. When the Nigerian collaborator was arrested in Festac Town, Lagos, he confessed during interrogation that the did not know the Canadian sisters before then, but was only contracted on his email to design a website. He added that he wasn’t aware that the website would be used for blackmail and that his fee of N100,000 was paid to him through a taxi driver.
Vanguard gathered that the Canadian sisters were trailed to the hotel in Victoria Island where they paid the sum of N178,000 per night through the taxi driver. A laptop containing information indicating that the sisters operated a syndicate which specialized in blackmailing wealthy Nigerians using the internet was recovered from them. Further investigation revealed that the sisters had blackmailed several billionaire businessmen, politicians, top rate musicians within the country and have extorted hundreds of thousand of dollars from them.
It was gathered that based on these discoveries, the sisters begged for clemency and vowed to shut down the website and turn a new leaf. They were however docked on December 23, 2016, before Chief Magistrate A.O Ojo, of the Yaba Magistrate Court , on a four count charge of blackmail, threat to kidnap and cyber-stalking while a bail of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum were granted to them and the case was adjourned.
Their passports were also surrendered to the police but the sisters obtained temporary travel documents which enabled them to travel back to their country. They failed to appear in court on their next adjourned date, prompting the magistrate to issue a bench warrant against them and their sureties.
Sources revealed that the Interpol Section of the Nigeria Police Force is making moves to issue an international warrant of arrest against the suspects, which would have them placed on ‘ Red Alert’.
Meantime, Vanguard learned at the weekend, that the police have moved the case to the Federal High Court Lagos for trial, and the it has been assigned to Justice Olatorungun.
Count four on the charge reads; “ That you Babatunde Oyebade, Kiranjort Matharoo and Tara and others at large sometime in October 2016, at the same place, in the aforementioned Judicial Division, did knowingly and intentionally transmit or cause the transmission of of injurious communication through a computer network system known as Naijagist live webisite owned by you, to bully, threaten and harass one Femi Otedola, ‘m’ wherein the said communication placed him and members of his family in fear of being kidnapped, death, bodily harm, injury his character and reputation and there by committed an offence punishable under Section 24(2)(a)(i) of the cyber crime (prohibition, prevention, etc) Act, Federation of Nigeria, 2015.
Another charge read; “that you Babatunde Oyebade, Kiranjot Matharoo , Tara Matharoo and others at large, on or about the 17th day of July, 2016, at the Ikoyi Lagos, in the Lagos Judicial Division, did conspire among yourselves and transmitted offensive and injurious communication through computer network system known as ‘Nija gist live’, a website, owned by you which contained threats to kidnap one Omoregie Ige, f, or harm her and requested for payment of N3.5million from her for the removal of her name from the damaging and false communication which was published on the said network website and thereby committed and offence punishable under section 24(3)(a)(i) of the Cyber Crimes (prohibition and prevention) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2015.