Court jails 26 internet fraudsters in Benin City

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured the conviction and sentence of 26 internet fraudsters before Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City.

The convicts are Balogun Oladipupo, Ehigiamusoe Desmond, Jeffery Enogieru, Awoke Godstime ThankGod, Gabriel Ugolo, Erhabor Idahosa, Obaretin Samuel, Ilevba Endurance, Ilevba Isowanmwen, Osakhuwomwen Osayende, Eruangu Salvation, Destiny Osafanmen, Emmanuel Osafanmen, Azuka Nzel, Enehizena Michael, Emmanuel Oladotun, Abdulsalam Enakhe.

Others are Cyril Ojo, Wisdom John, Samuel Joseph, Ime Etim, Imafidon Kelvin, Sylvester Gabriel, Victor Chika, Ejike Madukaku and Abdullahi Rahman.

They were jailed after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, possession of fraudulent documents upon arraignment by the Benin Zonal Command of the commission.

The charge against Ilevba reads: “That you Endurance Ilevba sometime in 2023 in Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be Jason Statham, an American actor and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 384 (1) of the criminal Law of Edo State Law 2022.”

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All the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them, prompting prosecution counsel, F. Jirbo. I. Elodi, I.K Agwai, K. Bello, Bala-Ribah and Salihu Ahmed to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that they have become remorseful for their actions.

The duo of Ilevba and Endurance Ilevba bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000, each while the quartet of Idahosa, Oladuton Cole, Michael and Abdullahi got two years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 each.

While 22 others were sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 each.

The judges ordered that the convicts forfeit their phones, laptops, three Mercedes-Benz vehicles, balances in their various bank accounts including the sum of N4,052million in the account of Ilevba being instrument and proceeds of crime to the Federal Government, while Abdullahi was ordered to refund N480,000 to his victim.

All the convicts are to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour afterwards.

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