Sunday Eboh, four others, granted bail on romance fraud case

Retired local footballer Sunday Eboh, along with four others, has been released on bail nearly three months after being charged in Malta's first romance fraud case

Sunday Eboh (inset)
Sunday Eboh (inset)

Five persons accused in Malta's first romance fraud case have been released on bail, nearly three months after being charged.

They were released against a deposit of €4,000 and a personal guarantee of €16,000. They were also ordered to observe a curfew and sign a bail book every day.

Prominent retired local footballer Sunday Eboh, Maltese national Alexandra Pace, Nigerian nationals Collins Eguavoen, Marvis Iyeke and Tony Ogbonna had been arrested in February.

Police said that an elderly Maltese woman fell victim to the fraud after engaging in an online relationship with who she thought was an American soldier deployed in Afghanistan. The soldier was supposedly returning to Malta once his deployment ended.

Despite never meeting with the soldier, the woman took the relationship seriously and transferred €58,000 to the person who allegedly asked her to pay for his expenses.

Investigations by the police revealed the alleged fraud was being carried out in the country by a group of people who were seeing that the money was being deposited in a number of local bank accounts. The money was being transacted in small amounts and laundered, they said.

The police were able to identify who was behind the scam and arrested five individuals aged between 28 to 58 years of age.

The prosecution is led by lawyers Karl Muscat, Sean Xerri de Caro and Abigail Caruana Vella from the office of the Attorney General. They were assisted by Inspector Sarah Zerafa from the Paola district and Inspector Claire Borg from the Economic Crimes Squad. Lawyers Robert Anthony Piscopo and Joseph Calleja appeared for Eboh; Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb appeared for Pace and Iyeke. Lawyers Leontine Calleja and Charles Mercieca assisted the other accused.