The Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, secured the conviction and sentencing of four internet fraudsters to various terms before Justices P. I. Ayua, A. T. Mohammed, P. I. Ajoku and S. I. Mark of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The convicts are: Brima Edegba, Nicholas Chris Chibuike, Omagbemi Jeffrey and Andrew Idigo.
They were convicted on a separate one count charge of impersonation 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 Edegba reads:”That you, Brima Edegba on or about the 13th of March, 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently present yourself as Alexamaka, a Bitcoin investor via your Telegram account with phone number+2349131240923 with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same section of the Act”.
Chibuike’s charge reads:” That you, Nicholas Chris Chibuike (aka Philip) on or about 28th November, 2021 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of $2,000 USD only from your victims under the false pretence that you are investing in Bitcoin business for them, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act”.
They pleaded “guilty” to their charges.
Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, C. Okorie, E. K Ebipade, F. O. Amama and K. W. Chukwuma-Eneh urged the court to convict and sentence them as charged.
Counsel to the defendants: Paula Abudu, P. U. Ogbuehi, L. Davies, and Eliko Golden pleaded with the Court to temper justice with mercy, stating that they were first time offenders.
Justice Ayua convicted and sentenced Edegba to two years imprisonment with N500,000 as fine.
Chibuike and Idigo were convicted and sentenced to one year in the Correctional Service with an option of fine of N100,000for Chibuike and N200.000.00 for Idigo.
Justice Mark also convicted and sentenced Omagbemi to three years in the correctional service with N500,000 as fine payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The judges also ordered that the two Samsung phones, one HP laptop, one decoder, two home theaters, one Samsung A20 mobile device, one Samsung Galaxy A22 and one iphone12 Pro Max used in committing the crime be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The convicts are also to depose an affidavit to be of good behavior before the court.