The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned four employees of ISD Technology Limited in court for allegedly unlawfully disabling DOUBLE OPT IN (DOI) features on a critical MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd Network System.
The men: Richard Ironba Edemdem, Samuel Okpapi, Nelson Ojovbo and Bamigbade Olushola were docked before the Federal High Court in Lagos by the EFCC on a four-count charge of cybercrime and N37 million fraud.
They were accused of committing the offence between 2017 and 2018.
According to the anti-graft agency, while working as subcontractor providing services to Huawei Technologies Company (Nigeria) Limited allegedly conspired with some persons to unlawfully manipulate and modify the MTN DOI features for their financial benefits.
DOI feature is a chargeable service to MTN subscribers who wish to register for the service.
The MTN User/Subscriber has to agree to the service by responding to an USSD notification sent to them by SDP (Service Delivery Platform).
When the User subscribes to this service, deductions are made from their air-time balance and the SPs begin to generate their revenue through revenue share between MTN and the SPs.
But the EFCC is alleging that the defendants unlawfully modify the DOI inorder to unlawfully increase their respective revenue from MTN.
By modifying the system, the defendants fraudulently disabled the D01 and subscribed Users automatically for the services. The Users Were consequently charged without their consent.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Anselem Ozioko are contrary to sections 27(1)(b), 10 and of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act. And section 15(2)(d) and (6) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as (Amended) and punishable under he some Section at the Act.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their not guilty plea, the Ozioko asked the court for a trial date and that the defendants br remanded in custody pending the determination of the charges against them.
However, the defendants lawyers: G. O. Ajila, Seye Demuren and Olumide Esan, told the court that they have filed separate bail applications on behalf of their clients.
The applications they said were filed on Wednesday morning and they are ready to proceed.
But Ozioko insisted that he needed time to respond to each of the applications.
He also asked the court to adjourned the matter to March 4 and 11, 2020, for trial of the defendants.
He particularly asked the court for the dates, because his first witness, a staff of Huawei International will be coming from South Africa to testify in the case.
Upon the submissions made by both parties, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Liman remanded the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS).
The judge also adjourned the matter till February 19 and March 4 and 11, 2020, for the hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and commencement of trial. .