19 internet fraudsters jailed as EFCC arrests 37 others
EFCC Yahoo boys

Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M. Itsueli of an Edo State High Court, Benin City, have  sentenced 19 Internet fraudsters to prison after they pleaded guilty to separate fraud charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The convicts were identified as Fidelis Esajini, Nicholas Azeke, Marvelous Alakpa, Adelike Ifeakachukwu Destiny, Osamwingie Osarenwinda, Mathias Friday Gbenga, Collins Etiosa Iyekeoretin, Anyanwu Miracle, Justice Aifo, Emmanuel Efetobor, Osahenie Louis Uwoghiren, Emmanuel Osifo, Timothy Nowamagbe,  Desmond Taiwo, Atunu Brilliant Ewomaoghene, Elvis Onojebe, Promise Uduaghan, Francis Uzoma Okoliko and Omokaro Omonefe.

The Benin zonal command of the EFCC had arraigned them each on a-count charge bordering on retention of proceeds of crime, fraudulent representation and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents.

The charge against Collins Etiosa Iyekeoretin reads: “that you, Collins Etiosa Iyekeoretin sometime between 23rd January 2018 and 26th May 2023, in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did retain the control of the aggregate sum of N303,304,519:69 in your UBA bank account number: 1021606211 on behalf of Osawonyi Ella, knowing that same represent the proceeds of criminal conduct of the said Osawonyi Ella and others and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( Establishment ) Act, 2004 and punishable under section 17(b) of the same Act.”

Fidelis Esajini, the EFCC alleged, represented himself as one Lisa, a United States citizen, last month, with the intent to commit fraud, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.

After their guilty pleas lawyers to the EFCC prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly but the defense counsel urged the court for liniency since the defendants were first-time offenders who had repented.

Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Esajini, Destiny, Osarenwinda, Gbenga, Iyekeoretin, Nowamagbe, Ewomaoghene and Okoliko to three years imprisonment with an option of N200,000 as fine. Azeke, Miracle, Aifo, Efetobor, Uwoghiren, Osifo were sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 each.

Alakpa bagged three years imprisonment or a fine of N300,000, while Taiwo bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000.

Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced the trio of Promise Uduaghan, Elvis Onojebe and Omokaro Omonefe to three years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000. The court also ordered that six vehicles – Lexus ES350, Black Mercedes ML350, Mercedes Benz C-30 model, Mercedes Benz ML 350, Lexus NX, Toyota Corolla- iPad, laptops, phones and the balance in the defendants’ bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government through the EFCC.

Relatedly, the Enugu zonal command of the EFCC, Tuesday arraigned four persons before Justice A.O Onovo of the State High Court, on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing by conversion contrary to Sections 495 (a) and 342, 343 of the Criminal Code Law of Enugu State, 2004.

The defendants, Nsude Oguejiofor, Ogbe Emmanuel Monday, Benjamin Onyekachi Nnaji and Nsude Sylvester Chukwuani, allegedly misappropriated N600 million, proceeds of the sale of 100 plots of land belonging to the Umuwankum family of Amechi Uwani.

They were alleged to have committed the offences between 2016 and 2018.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail in the sum of N2 million and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a civil servant of not less than Grade Level 13 and resident within the jurisdiction of the court. The case was adjourned till September 21, for hearing.

The commission also arrested 37 suspected internet fraudsters in Ibadan, Oyo State.

They were arrested at Ologolo Estate and Omi-Ado areas of Ibadan with seven exotic cars, a motorcycle, several mobile phones and laptops, among others recovered from them.