Court Convicts 12 Internet Fraudsters in C’River, A’Ibom

By Paulinus Nta, A’IBOM

The Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction and sentencing of 12 internet fraudsters in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

This was confirmed in a press release dated June 11 by the Media and Publicity unit of the Uyo Zonal Command of the EFCC.

The fraudsters were convicted by Justices Ijeoma Ojukwu and Rosemary Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State.

Justice Ojukwu convicted and sentenced 11 individuals: Nwaeke Vitalis Ndubisi, Kingsley Goodnews, Inyang Victor, Ekere-Obong Adams, Usang Enang, Ogudu James, Arinze Nelly, David Dede, Ibeawuchi Okwukwechukwu, Prince Samuel Ukpai, and Ekpo Peter. While Justice Oghoghorie convicted and sentenced Joshua Akpabio.

All convicts were prosecuted on charges of criminal impersonation on social media platforms with intent to defraud unsuspecting members of the society.

Ndubisi, Goodnews, Victor, Adams, Enang, James, Nelly, Dede, and Okwukwechukwu faced two-count charges, while Akpabio, Ukpai, and Peter faced one-count charge each.

The charge against Ndubisi stated: “That you, Nwaeke Vitamin Ndubisi ‘M,’ sometime in August 2023, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did fraudulently present yourself as Cytal Barton to unsuspecting victims on the social media platform, Facebook, with intent to gain advantage for yourself did take possession of the sum of N150,000 knowing that the money forms part of the proceed of an unlawful act, to wit: impersonation, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 18 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2022, and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.”

All defendants pleaded guilty to their charges. Prosecution counsels Joshua Abolarin and Mahmud Khamis requested the courts to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly, while defense counsels Tom Udeme, Francis Ezike, Innocent Eze, and Henry Iyipiyayo pleaded for leniency, noting that the defendants were first-time offenders.

After considering the arguments from both sides, Justice Ojukwu handed six-month jail terms to Ndubisi, Goodnews, Victor, Adams, Enang, James, Nelly, Dede, and Okwukwechukwu on each of their two-count charges, to run concurrently.

Peter and Ukpai received six-month jail terms for their one-count charges, while Akpabio received a one-year jail term with an option to pay a N1 million fine from Justice Oghoghorie.

In addition to their jail terms, Adams, Enang, and Dede were ordered to restitute $100, $200, and $450, respectively, to their victims.

The EFCC confirmed that the convicts were arrested at various locations in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States for internet-related offences.

About Olakunle Oyedunmola

A Veteran Journalist | Scriptwriter | Clergy | Photographer | Videography | Businessman | Actor | Contractor | Motivational Speaker | Scout and currently the Chief Correspondent at National Telescope Newspapers.

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