More time in jail as bail hearing for alleged Black Axe members postponed

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Lawyers for the eight alleged members of Nigerian organised crime syndicate Black Axe are trying to get their clients bail, arguing that their alleged crimes are not so serious.

Defence attorney Ben Prinsloo told the court that the South African equivalent of at least one of the charges his clients were facing was a schedule 1 offence and not, as the state alleges, schedule 5.

This means, Prinsloo said, the onus is on the prosecutors to prove exceptional circumstances for the men to be kept in jail for the duration of their extradition hearing.

Six alleged leaders of the Black Axe were arrested in a huge police operation on Tuesday last week. They are:

  • Perry Osagiede, 52, the alleged founder of the organisation’s Cape Town zone;
  • Enorense Izevbigie, 45, the group’s alleged current leader;
  • Franklyn Edosa Osagiede, 37;
  • Osariemen Eric Clement, 35;
  • Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, 37; and
  • Musa Mudashiru, 33.

Toritseju Gabriel Otubu, 41, and Prince Ibeh — also Nigerians linked to the syndicate but who are not part of the leadership — were also arrested in the raids on nine Cape Town addresses.

Extradition threat rocks alleged Black Axe gangstersThe word “extradition” appeared to hit the eight alleged members of the Black Axe standing in the dock in the Cape Town magistrate’s court this week …NEWS4 days ago

Most of the men appeared wearing fresh brand-name clothing in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

Unlike during their first appearance which was dominated by the presence of the Hawks, police and Interpol agents, the accused had several supporters in court, including several female family members. Nigerian diplomatic staff were also in attendance. 

The men face extradition to the US for allegedly defrauding 100 US women out of R100m.

The Black Axe network spans nearly the entire globe and is said to be a sophisticated criminal syndicate with links to drug smuggling, human trafficking, and sex trafficking in countries like Italy.

The group allegedly used SA as a base from which to defraud women and companies both in SA and across the world.

Aside from charges of conspiring to commit money laundering, the accused also face charges in the US comparable to charges in South African law such as fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and identity theft.

The case was postponed to Thursday, when the bail application is expected to continue.


NBM suspends members for alleged infractions

More bad eggs? I thought the movement had been cleaned up.

Source: NBM Bad Egg Press Release

For attracting negative media coverage over acts that reportedly negate establishment rules, the leadership of Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa Worldwide has suspended 13 members whose conducts currently draw public opprobrium.

The indictment, according to the Pan-Africanist group, is strange to its constitution and operating tenets.

The Movement’s spokesman, Oluwatosin Dixon, who was addressing the Body of Founders (BOF) probing the incident, reiterated the organisation’s zero-tolerance for criminality.

He told the audience at the pioneer NBM leaders’ parley that the Movement’s current National Executive Council (NEXCO) that the body was doing everything possible to weed out criminally-minded persons from its fold through administrative checks on members, especially those vying for official positions within the group. 

On negative media and bloggers’ reports, Dixon clarified that “NBM has constantly briefed journalists and the public that it is a peace-loving and law-abiding Pan-Africanist movement that loathes oppression but loves justice, equity and fairness.”

He stressed that the organisation had collaborated with security agencies to bring criminals to justice.

Dixon said: “We have told them (i.e. the writers, bloggers and publishers) that NBM has no hand or interest in the crimes alleged in the indictments.

“Stop associating crimes committed by individuals with NBM. They should act professionally by being investigative to obtain the facts needed for equitable and verifiable reporting. Our organisation is open to be contacted for clarification and verification where members allegedly involved in crimes and other vices.”

The spokesman further said: “It is morally and legally wrong to ascribe the misdemeanours of some individuals who are allegedly members to our great movement, which is a legal entity, with capacity to sue and be sued.

“Therefore, with the directive given by NEXCO, our legal department shall look into proven cases of flagrant blackmail of NBM to seek redress through law suits against offenders and press charges for criminal libel.”

He, however, lambasted the indicted persons and implored members to imbibe one of the group’s cardinal principles in Section 2 (8) of its constitution, which forbids them from committing social vices or crimes. 

Dixon listed those on indefinite suspension to include Kingsley Ita; Irabor Fatarr Musa; Victor Idowu; Uwadiae Ezezobor, Ehigie Isibor; Richy Enorense Izevbigie and   Perry Osagiede.

Others are Franklyn Edosa Osagiede, Egbe Anthony Iyamu, Osariemen Eric Clement, Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, Musa Mudashiru and Ibeh Mark.

He added that the suspended members, who are in Cape Town, South Africa, have rights to defend themselves in the spirit of fair-hearing.

Secret Service Charges Nigerian Mobsters With Defrauding Americans

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The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) has charged eight Nigerian mob members with wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering of American citizens, the agency announced in a statement Wednesday.

The eight men, though all Nigerian-born, were based in South Africa and were members of a mafia syndicate known as the Black Axe. Seven of the men charged were high-ranking leaders in the group, while the eighth individual was charged as a conspirator.

Seven of the men charged were arrested in South Africa Tuesday by the South African Police Service (SAPS), where they await extradition to the United States to stand trial. A final suspect remains at large.

The wire fraud and money laundering charges each have a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $750,000 in combined fines. Each identity theft charge has a mandatory sentence of two years.

The USSS led a large-scale investigation into the Black Axe members, assisted by the FBI, the U.S. State Department, and internationally by the SAPS and foreign intelligence services.

While the USSS is more widely known in popular culture for its protective services of government officials, the agency’s founding mission was to stop counterfeit currency, and today it undertakes a wide variety of investigations.

Since 2011, the mobsters had engaged in various forms of financial conspiracy with Americans over the internet. This included a variety of romance-based and advance-fee schemes.

Some of the victims had allegedly been coerced into believing they were in relationships with the perpetrators. The mobsters would then threaten to blackmail the victims by releasing explicit photos if they did not send them money.

Other schemes involved the mobsters telling people that they needed money for a friend who was traveling to South Africa and had gotten into trouble. Reportedly, it was often claimed that the friend had had an accident with a crane or construction equipment.

At times, the Black Axe members were even able to convince their victims to open entirely new American bank accounts for their own use, the USSS said.

“Transnational organized criminal networks continue to victimize U.S. citizens and threaten the financial infrastructure of the United States,” USSS official Jeremy Sheridan said. “The Secret Service, alongside our partner agencies, works tirelessly in its global investigative mission to dismantle these groups and arrest those who lead them.”

“Americans are too often victimized by criminal organizations located abroad that use the internet to deceive those victims, defraud them of money, and, many times, persuade their victims to wittingly or unwittingly assist in perpetuating the fraudulent schemes,” added acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig.

FBI officials also commented on their role in the investigation. “Foreign nationals who think they can hide in another country or in cyberspace while preying on our citizens need to know one thing,” said an FBI Special Agent in Charge. “The FBI has a global reach and will use every resource available to protect the American people.

Formed in the 1970s, the Black Axe syndicate has been called “one of the most notorious secret societies to ever come out of Nigeria” by the BBC, and has been labelled a cult in the past.

Additionally, the South African Sunday Times has said that the group had even managed to drive the Italian mafia out of territory in Italy, and was “associated with drug smuggling and human trafficking.”

Newsweek has reached out to the South African Police Service for comment.

Black Axe suspects held in Cape Town could be extradited to US

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The eight men arrested in connection with the Nigerian transnational organised crime group called the Black Axe face extradition to the US, the Cape Town magistrate’s court heard on Wednesday.

They include the alleged founder of the Black Axe Cape Town Zone, 52-year-old Perry Osagiede, and the man alleged to be the group’s current leader, Enorense Izevbigie, 45.

Four other members of the leadership stood in the dock alongside them: Franklyn Edosa Osagiede, 37, Osariemen Eric Clement, 35, Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, 37, and Musa Mudashiru, 33.

Two other Nigerians linked to the syndicate but not part of the leadership were also arrested in raids in Cape Town on Tuesday. They are Toritseju Gabriel Otubu, 41, and Prince Ibeh.

The arrested members face up to 50 years in a US federal prison, the Cape Town magistrate’s court heard on Wednesday.

The state prosecutor in the case told the court that their appearance was for a bail application pending an extradition process to the US, which is set to start as soon as the bail process is complete.

The accused were remanded in custody until October 26, when their formal bail request will be heard in court. However, the state has already said it was strongly opposed to bail as the men were alleged to be flight risks and had ready access to vast amounts of laundered money.

The state said it was difficult to track the syndicate’s assets, which are spread out in accounts across the globe, due to the money being laundered through several accounts.

The charges faced by the accused in a US court include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy and fraud charges carry hefty maximum sentences of 20 years each.

According to the state, the accused were likely to commit more offences if they were released.

The state said officials would be looking into the legal status of the suspects in SA.


Private investigator shares how romance scams work

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Cape Town – Following the arrest of alleged leaders of a large transnational Nigerian syndicate called the Black Axe in early morning raids in Cape Town on Tuesday, a private investigator has shared how romance scams work.

John Alexander, a private investigator from Royal Investigations has for years been hired by victims to investigate these crimes. He said during the pandemic, the scammers upped their game.

“We noticed during the pandemic the romance scammers had to deviate from their usual ’script’ or storyline, they could no longer make victims believe that they are travelling for business, due to lockdown. However, we heard bizarre stories such as one who was claiming to be trapped on an oil rig and unable to set foot on land, claiming that their food supply had diminished and they are now paying as much as $300 for a loaf of bread. This was how their story evolved and how they managed to adapt to the pandemic,” he said.

Eight Nigerian nationals which include six leaders of the group aged between 33 to 52 were arrested for Internet scams, money laundering and international-wide scale financial fraud in Cape Town in a joint operation by the FBI, United States Secret Service(USSS), Interpol and with assistance from the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit, Crime Intelligence(CI), K9, National Intervention Unit, Special Task Force (STF), Tactical Operations Management Section (Toms), Criminal Record Centre and Cape Town Metro police.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the FBI estimates that more than 100 people lost more than R100 million in romance scams from 2011 to date.

“They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites. Once they had ingratiated themselves with their victims, they allegedly concocted sob stories about why they needed money, taxes to release an inheritance, essential overseas travel, crippling debt, etcetera,” he said.

The group is believed to be behind hundreds of thousands of “romance scams”. These were allegedly carried out by members of the group who used dating sites to meet elderly men and women from around the world who were either widowed, single or divorced, then scam them out of their money.

According to a source close to the investigation, the group is also alleged to have scammed companies out of millions of rand using a business email compromise scam.

They are said to have been operating from the Table View area along the west coast, posing as wealthy pensioners looking for love. The group is also found in Italy and works with Italian mafia groups. South Africa is their favourite playground where they marry locals to obtain citizenship so they can travel to European countries easily.

“Elderly women, especially widowed or divorced are the prime suspects on dating sites, they are the vulnerable targets, there are victimology assessments done on their targets, intel-gathering and usually very complex screening to identify the perfect victim,” said Alexander.

“I must admit there are people finding true love on dating sites, however, they are few and far between. People should steer away from posting their whole life on social media. My advice for women would be to do their due diligence, the syndicate would usually declare their love for you within days, claiming to be prominent figures or employed in the engineering industry, within weeks after grooming their prey they would start their exploitations, better known as ”phase 2”. Women should be very careful and not part with any money, especially not to someone they have not met in person.”

The eight suspects are appearing in court today.

Nigerian mafia leaders arrested after Hawks swoop in Cape Town

Breaking news this one rather than the usual week delay….

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The text is replicated here for posterity:

Alleged leaders of a large transnational Nigerian syndicate called the Black Axe were arrested in early morning raids in Cape Town on Tuesday.

TimesLIVE understands that six leaders of the Black Axe organised crime group’s Cape Town chapter were arrested in a co-ordinated operation involving the Hawks and US law-enforcement authorities.

A seventh member of the group, who is not part of the leadership of the organisation, was also arrested. It is believed an eighth person affiliated to the Black Axe organisation was also arrested in connection with a separate, but related, case. 

The founder of the Black Axe “Cape Town Zone” was among those arrested, TimesLIVE sources said.

The group is believed to be behind hundreds of thousands of “romance scams”. These were allegedly perpetrated by members of the group who used dating sites to meet elderly men and women from around the world who were either widowed or divorced, then scam them out of their money.

The Sunday Times previously reported on SA victims of the group, some of whom were fleeced out of their life’s savings and even their entire pensions.

The Black Axe members arrested in the early hours of Tuesday are also alleged to have scammed companies out of millions of rand using a business email compromise scam. 

The scams are sophisticated and have highly organised Nigerian syndicate members, operating mainly from the Table View area along Cape Town’s west coast, posing as wealthy pensioners looking for love. 

The Neo-Black Movement of Africa is a name interchangeably used for the mafia-style organisation that started on university campuses in Nigeria in the 1970s.

Black Axe positioned itself as an organisation for the liberation of black people around the world. However, it was soon labelled a cult and banned under Nigerian law after it became synonymous with criminal activity globally.

Law-enforcement sources told TimesLIVE the Black Axe has a strong presence in SA. Members often marry South Africans to get residency or citizenship, making it easier to access countries including Canada, the US, the UK and Germany.

The group also has a strong presence in Italy where authorities arrested several members this year. The group is alleged to work closely with the Camorra, one of the biggest Italian mafia groups, in other illicit activities including the drug trade and human trafficking.

DMCA Takedown – Part 2

All posts that highlighted (and duplicated) and linked to Guardian articles about the NBM have been taken down following a second (a second inside a week… following agents of evil Vanguard Media doing the same) takedown order.

The following articles have been removed and takedown notices replacing the duplicated text.

Location of original materials:

Edit: takedown articles now are listed at the bottom of the latest news section of the site.

Edit2: I spoke with the editor and he appears a little confused in the head. Forwarded me to NBM sponsored content on his site as evidence he was publishing journalism I should like. I think he was confused and thought I was NBM coming to bully him!

NBM Disowns More Bad Eggs

Countless arrested US members and a small handful of NBM rapists (as a token gesture) have been disowned as bad eggs by the NBM. Media outlets and bloggers wrong to think there are even more bad egg disowning sessions to be held in the future.

Source: THE DAILY TIMES (Monday, October 4, 2021)

NBM hands over TikTok girl’s attackers to police

• Disowns persons accused of fraud in USA

Pan-Africanist socio-cultural and non-governmental organization, the Neo- Black Movement (NBM), has reiterated that it is not and has never been a criminal outfit.

The frontline, Nigeria-based worldwide philanthropic and human rights group at the weekend said it became imperative to re-emphasize its status as a law-abiding legal entity following two recent occurrences which detractors linked to it in libelous claims.

But NBM of Africa, in reaction to the false claims, said: “The present leadership is engaged in regular internal house-cleaning and every suspected member who runs foul of the law will be handed over to law enforcement. This is even more evidenced by the tracking down and handing over to the police in Edo State of the three impostors, John Omozele, Smart Ogbeide and Tajudeen Afesume, who brutalized and dehumanized a female Tik Tok user.

They erroneously believed that the action will earn them membership of the organisation as their bids for membership had earlier been rebuffed. Our standard for intakes cannot be lowered to accommodate such persons.”

NBM’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Oluwatosin Dixon, who articulated the reaction, stressed: “Also as a follow-up to the resolve of the leadership, in the case of the criminal indictment of five members in Dallas, Texas, United States, they have been suspended indefinitely until they can clear themselves of the allegations brought against them in the court process.”

The NBM spokesman added: “We have announced repeatedly and overtime that we are not a crime syndicate and have zero tolerance for crime and criminality. We are, therefore, using this medium to state again that we will take legal action against media outlets and bloggers who continuously use the activities of a few members and impostors to stereotype and malign an entire organisation.

“We are law-abiding and contributing our quota to humanity’ development and progress.

“We will continue to engage and align with security agencies globally to ensure that criminals are brought to book as our motto remains “Social Justice & Equality For All.”

Read More: THE DAILY TIMES (Monday, October 4, 2021)…. Page 4
THE GUARDIAN (Monday, October 4, 2021)…. Page 29