EFCC secures conviction of four internet fraudsters in Port Harcourt

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has obtained the conviction of four internet scammers in Port Harcourt on different charges.

The convicted fraudsters were arraigned before Justices PM Ayua and SI Mark of the Federal Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, according to the statement released by the commission on Wednesday.

The four cybercriminals are: Akpolabe Ovie, Agbor Savior Liberty, Aso Welewa Gideon Apata and Tobukeme Precious Junior.

The Port Harcourt Zone Command of the EFCC sued them on a separate charge of identity theft in a count in violation of Section 22(2)b(i) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015 and subject to Section 22(2 ) is punishable. (iv) same law.

The charge against Liberty reads: “That you, Agbor Savior Liberty, fraudulently represented within the jurisdiction of that honorable court, sometime in 2022, a certain Kenny Chesney for personal gain and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 22 (2) b (i ) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (iv) of the same Act.”

The charge against Ovie reads: “That on or about September 29, 2022, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, you, Akpolabe Ovie, fraudulently impersonate an Eric in your hangout and sent an email to ericharrison7892 with the intention of gain an advantage and thereby committed an offense in breach of Section 22(2)(b)(i) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(iv) of the same Act .”

The four suspects pleaded guilty to their respective charges.

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Accordingly, prosecutors FC Obinwa and IN Nwosu urged the court to convict them.

Attorneys for defendants Ransome Akweda, Paula Abudu, Ikechukwu Egwu Ugorji and L. Davies asked the court to mitigate justice with clemency, saying the defendants were first-time offenders.

“Apata, Junior and Ovie were found guilty and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment each, with the option of a fine of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) for Apata and two hundred thousand naira (N200,000.00) for the others.

“Liberty has been sentenced to three years with three hundred thousand naira (N300,000.00) as a fine to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement said.

The judges also ordered the phones and laptops used in the commission of the crimes to revert to the federal government.

The convicts were also ordered to sign an affidavit of good behavior in court.

Usman Mustapha is a solutions journalist at the International Center for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M