An Akwa Ibom State High Court in Uyo, has sentenced three persons to various terms of imprisonment for impersonating the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its sister agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices (and Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC).
A cleric, Reverend Nobert Rampa, 53, a native of Ekpene Ukim in Uruan Local Government Area, was among those convicted by the court for fraudulent deals under the cover of the EFCC and ICPC.
Rampa was found guilty of defrauding people under false pretences of being a senior official working for the two anti-graft agencies.
Others convicted are a barber, Gabriel Udo, 34, from Mbiafum Ikot Abasi village in Ini LGA, and a patent medicine dealer, Patrick Essien, 52, from Uruan LGA of the state. The presiding judge, Justice Archibong Archibong, said the convicts were found guilty of the charges of conspiracy, forgery and impersonating public officers.
They were convicted under Section 552, 112 and 495 of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol 2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, 2000.
In about two hours’ judgement, Archibong held that: “From the totality of the evidence of prosecution and defence witnesses as well as the exhibits before the court, I am satisfied that the prosecution has proven the case against the accused persons as required by the law.”
According to particulars of the case, the complainant, a retired permanent secretary in the state civil service, had petitioned the EFCC over the activities of the convicts.
He recalled how they brought him a letter of invitation in August 2018, purported to be from the EFCC for investigation, adding that it was later discovered to be a deliberate attempt to extort money from him.
According to him, “In June 2019, they came back to me again under the umbrella of Grassroots Development Advocacy Initiative (GDAI), where Reverend Rampa, who claimed to be a man of God, introduced himself as a senior intelligence investigating officer working for ICPC and EFCC.”
The retired civil servant stated that “Rampa had delivered a letter of investigation attaching details of all my property and assets asking me to furnish their agencies (EFCC and ICPC) how I acquired the property.”
Relying on the facts deposed to by the prosecution, Justice Archibong held: “I have noted and read all the authorities cited in support and against the case, and I am satisfied that all are in favour of the conviction of the accused.”
Consequently, Archibong sentenced the first and second accused persons to 25 years in imprisonment and the third accused to three years, explaining, “the sentences are to run concurrently.”