Alleged middleman in Nigerian romance fraud case pleads not guilty

Man remanded in custody over his alleged part in €21,500 scam

A Nigerian man has been charged with having committed offences of money laundering and handling stolen property whilst acting as the middleman in an online romance fraud.

29-year-old Godonu Dele a plasterer residing in Qawra was accused over the €21,500 scam which saw an elderly woman fleeced of her savings. He was arrested as a result of a separate investigation into a number of Nigerian individuals who were arraigned on Monday.

The tall, dreadlocked accused protested silently with his lawyer as the charges of money laundering and handling stolen goods, were being read out on oath by inspector Sarah Zerafa.

Dele pleaded not guilty in the case, which will potentially lead to an indictment before the criminal court.

Lawyer Yanika Bugeja, appointed legal aid counsel to the accused, declared that she would not be requesting bail today because there were numerous civilian witnesses yet to testify. She would be making the request at a later stage, she said.

The court upheld the prosecution’s request for the freezing of all the man’s assets – a standard measure in money laundering cases.

The case will now be assigned according to law.

Magistrate Audrey Demicoli presided.

Inspectors Sarah Zerafa and Claire Borg prosecuted, together with prosecutors Sean Xerri de Caro and Karl Muscat from the Office of the Attorney General.