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Ghanaian social media influencer Hajia4Reall pleads guilty in $2m romance scam case in US

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Ghanaian social media influencer, Mona Faiz Montrage, popularly known as Hajia4Reall, has pleaded guilty in a $2 million romance scam case in the United States.

The United States Attorney’s Office reported on Wednesday that Hajia4Reall who was arrested in the UK last year and extradited to the US, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to receive stolen money, and could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

The Attorney Office added that Hajia4Reall also agreed to forfeit the sum of $2,164,758.41, as well as make restitution in the same amount while her sentencing is scheduled to be conducted by U.S. District Judge, Paul A. Crotty, at a date yet to be stated.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, who addressed journalists after the court hearing on Wednesday, confirmed the socislite’s guilty plea which he said emphasized the seriousness of the crime.

Williams explained that the accused knowingly accepted money stolen from older Americans through romance scams, and as a consequence, she faces significant legal ramifications.

“This Office and our law enforcement partners are relentless in bringing fraudsters who target Americans to justice, no matter where they are,” the Attorney said.

He explained that Hajia4Reall, a socialite turned musician, was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom over her alleged involvement in a $2 million romance scam which is locally called ‘Sakawa’ in her native Ghana, targeting older, single Americans, in May 2023.

During the hearing, prosecutors said she was charged with conspiracy to commit and committing wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

The prosecution noted that Hajia4Reall received money from several victims of romance frauds whom members of the syndicate tricked into sending money.

“Among the false pretences used to induce victims to send money to Hajia4Reall were payments to transport gold to the U.S. from overseas payments to resolve a fake FBI investigation, and payments to assist a fake U.S. Army officer in receiving funds from Afghanistan.

“In total, Hajia4Reall controlled bank accounts that received over $2 million in fraudulent funds from the fraud.

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Culture

Davido’s ‘Unavailable’ achieves milestone with 100 million views on YouTube, Spotify

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Nigeria’s Afrobeats sensation, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has landed another milestone after his hit single, “Unavailable’, surpassed 100 million streams on both YouTube and Spotify.

According to a release on Wednesday by his management team, the track which features South African artist, Musa Keys, also hit a major milestone as its music video crossed 100 million views on YouTube.

The hit track which was released on April 11, 2023, as part of Davido’s chart-topping album “Timeless”, grew to become the most streamed Afrobeats song of 2023 and received high praise, including being named by Rihanna as her favorite single of the year.

“The single, Unavailable, has also surpassed 100 million streams on Spotify to become Davido’s first single to achieve this feat,” the statement said.

“With the music video surpassing 100 million views, it becomes Davido’s fourth song to surpass the 100 million streams mark following his 2017 hit releases ‘If’, ‘Fall’, and ‘FIA’.

“Following the success of Unavailable, Davido released a remix EP that includes collaborations with Jamaican Dancehall star Sean Paul and American rapper Latto.

“Described by Rihanna as her favourite single of 2023, Davido’s Unavailable was the most streamed Afrobeats song released in 2023.

“Additionally, the single recently earned a SNEP Gold plaque after reaching 15 million streams in France, cementing its status as a global hit,” it added.

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Culture

Cameroon opens museum dedicated to oldest, influential kingdoms

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The Cameroonian government has inaugurated a historical museum which is dedicated to honouring its oldest and most influential kingdoms.

Known as the Royal Bomaun Kings Museum, it was inaugurated on Saturday, April 13, in Foumban, the Bauman Kingdom’s traditional capital, located in the western part of the country.

The edifice which is next to the royal palace of the Bamouns, has been described as an architectural masterpiece, pays homage to the emblem of the Bamoun – a double-headed snake, a spider, and a double-mounted gong, and houses over 10,000 historical artefacts most of whom are century-old objets d’art.

It was inaugurated by King Nabil Mbombo Njoya, the 20th ruler of the Bamouns, alongside Culture Minister, Pierre Ismaël Bidoung Mkpatt.

Foremost Cameroonian historian and anthropologist, Professor Francois Bingono Bingono, who was among the visitors at the opening of the museum, spoke glowingly of the project.

“I was privileged to visit the museum. I can tell you that it is not only the culture of western Cameroon, the culture of the Bamouns that is celebrated inside those walls.

“I recognized the culture of the forest, meaning the culture of the inhabitants of southern Cameroon, a heavily forested region.

“I also recognized the cultures of the regions of East, Centre and South Cameroon. One can also come across the cultural heritage of Loum, of the Hauts-Plateaux department, and that of northern Cameroon.

“This museum is the ideal place for those who wish to go back to their roots or take a deep dive into the culture heritage of Cameroon.

“You can see valuable items inside such as thrones and chairs used by the King. Really anything that has to do with the Bamoun dynasty from the first rulers to the current monarch.

“This is patrimony that is handed down to future generations. For the Bamouns, it represents an achievement and a celebration of their culture. For Cameroonians at large, it is part of their history.”

The Bamoun Kingdom is one of the oldest in sub-saharan Africa with historians dating its creation to the late XIVth century.

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