Justice A. T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced an internet fraudster, Lucky Victor Chinonso, who is also a student, to one year imprisonment for impersonation contrary to Section 22(2) (b) (i) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
He was jailed on Wednesday after pleading “guilty” to the two count charge preferred against him by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Prosecution counsel, K. A. Yunus prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant in line with his plea.
Counsel to the defendant, S. N. Nule urged the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant is a student and first time offender with no previous criminal record.
Justice Muhammed convicted and sentenced the defendant to one year imprisonment on counts one and count two with N200,000 option of fine or three months community service at the premises of the EFCC Port Harcourt Command.
In addition, the Court ordered that one iPhone 11Pro Max and one Vivo mobile device recovered from the convict be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The convict was arrested by the operatives of the Commission on the 28th July, 2022 at Eneka Link Road, Port Harcourt. Investigation revealed that the convict operated a Gmail account with the name Angel Williams which he used in defrauding his victims through romance scam.
Similarly, the Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction and sentencing of 37 internet fraudsters to various terms of imprisonment, fines, and community service.
The convicts were prosecuted before Justices Mohammed Owolabi, Ladiran Akintola and Mojeed Oladimeji Ishola of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan; Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje, A.A. Babawale, O.O. Majekodunmi and O. Ogunfowora of the Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta and Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, Osun State between January 10 and March 06, 2023.
They include: Olubanji Remilekun Dare, Abdullahi Olalekan, Salau Olalekan Abdulazeez, Joshua Jimoh Showemimo, Awotunde Joseph Sunday, Abegunde Oluseye James, Sadu Noah Babatunde, Emmanuel Oluwasanya, Joshua Opeyemi Okunlaja, Emefele Collins Kelvin, Lateef Afeez Abiodun, Salawu Bolaji Ismail, Azeez Alao Rasaq.
Akinleye Abdul-Azeez Oloruntosin, Quincy Olise Okonma, David Olateju Olayiwola, Balogun Ibrahim Olanrewaju, Adebayo Waris Bolaji, Makinde Taiwo Busola, Ojekunle Ifakorede Apesinola, Akorede Ibrahim Abimbola, Olowofela Ganiyu Omolaja, and Olatunde Zaccheus Sulaiman are also part of those convicted.
Others are: Fagbamiye Temitope Akinola, David Mautin Sadagbande, Odunjo Fodirudeen Bamidele, Abayomi Gideon Ayeni, Folorunsho Samuel Oluwatobi, Amoo Abdulmalik Ademola, Shittu Toheeb Ife, Stephen Godwin Olawoye, Oladimeji Ayomide Michael, Arasi Taiwo Bolaji, Sulaiman Lateef Damilare, Olori Daniel Oluwaseun, Ganiu Jamiu Adufe and Akinlagun Oyindamola Tomiwa.
Upon their arraignments on a separate one count charge each, they pleaded “guilty” except Fagbamiye Temitope Akinola who pleaded ‘not guilty’ and the case went into full trial.
Fagbamiye was arraigned on 18 counts which bordered on money laundering, an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as Amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
During the trial, the prosecution called one witness and tendered 10 exhibits that were admitted in evidence.
On February 7, 2023, Justice Emmanuel, in his judgment, pronounced Fagbamiye Temitope Akinola guilty as charged and sentenced him to two years imprisonment on each of the 18 counts, which is to run concurrently.
Justice Emmanuel, however gave the convict an option of N200, 000 fine on each of the 18 counts, amounting to N3.6million.
Other convicts were sentenced to different jail terms ranging from two months to one year of community service or three months to one year imprisonment with option of fines.
Also, the courts ordered that the convicts restitute their victims and forfeit all items recovered from them to the Federal Government of Nigeria.