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.


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