Nigerian online dating scam suspects seek to reduce severity of charges

Eight Nigerian men, accused of committing online fraud amounting to least $6.6 million (nearly R100 million), have made another appearance at the Cape Town Magistrates Court.

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CAPE TOWN - The defence in the multi-million dollar romance scam case is seeking to have the severity of the charges against the accused, reduced.

Eight Nigerian men, accused of committing online fraud amounting to least $6.6 million, have made another appearance at the Cape Town Magistrates Court.

The alleged internet imposters created fake online profiles on social media platforms and dating sites. They then duped their unsuspecting victims out of millions of dollars equal to around R100 million in South Africa.

ALSO READ: Alleged Nigerian internet dating scammers due in court for bail applications

The accused were arrested in an operation consisting of international and local law enforcement agencies.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said that the State had week already argued why the matter was a Schedule 5 offence.

β€œUnfortunately, one of the translators was not part of that sitting so it looks like we'll have to go back again. Then make those adjustments and provide them to the defense so that the court can be able to determine the schedule of the bail application before we sit for the application,” he said.

Defence attorney Andre Johnston however differed: β€œThe defence was of the view that the matter were in a lower schedule, possibly schedule one, to change the whole scope and the onus in terms of who needs to prove what during the course of the proceedings.”

The accused will be back in the dock on Thursday.

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