Court rules extradition of Black Axe romance scamsters in Cape Town to face trial in the US

Alleged members of the notorious Black Axe crime syndicate implicated in internet romance scams are liable for extradition to the US after the Cape Town magistrate’s court agreed there was “sufficient evidence to warrant their prosecution”. 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “After considering the evidence presented in the extradition inquiry, [magistrate Ingrid Arntsen] found [the accused] were liable for extradition to the US and that there was sufficient evidence to warrant their prosecution [there].” 

Perry Osagiede, Enorense Izevbiege, Franklin Edosa Osagiede, Osariemen Eric Clement, Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, Musa Mudashiru and Prince Ibeabuchi Mark were arrested and face US charges for wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. They allegedly worked as a collective in a romance scam contacting potential victims through email, social media and online dating websites and would use aliases to strike up fake romantic relationships, claiming to be engineers and managers working on projects in South Africa. They would then allegedly “sway their victims to send money directly or to permit others to send money through their financial accounts, to South Africa”.They are  being held in custody at Pollsmoor prison and have 15 days to appeal the court order while they await a final extradition decision by justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. Toritseju Gabrieal Otubu applied for his extradition hearing to be separated from his co-accused and his matter will be heard on April 12. Ntabazalila said: “Western Cape director of public prosecutions advocate Nicolette Bell took her hat off to advocate Lewis and advocate Badenhorst for their commitment, under trying conditions at times, to ensure they take this extradition inquiry to a satisfactory conclusion that will ensure justice for victims of the crimes committed.”

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