Justice Efe Ikponwonba of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on Tuesday, convicted and sentenced 14 internet fraudsters to various terms of imprisonment.
The convicts are Ehis Ezhibwe Okoawo, Benjamin Ifeanyi Aghaeze, Godwin Destiny, Liroy Nwanochie, Lucky Igbinosa, Terna Daniel, Sunday Stanley and Oyenyen Olusegun Blessing.
Others are Odagwe Trust Ifechukwu, Solomon Andrew, Emojevwe Wisdom, Ewomazino Odidi, Shaka Samson and Oluwapelimi Joseph Obanigba
They were arraigned separately on one count charge each, bordering on intent to defraud and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The charge against Ewomazino Odidi reads. “That you, Ewomazino Odidi (m) on or about 2nd day of May, 2023 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did have in your possession documents which you knew or ought to have known contain false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 and Section 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
The charge against Liroy Nwanochie reads: “That you, Liroy Nwanochie (m) sometime in 2020 at Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did have in your possession documents which you knew or ought to have known contain a false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary Section 6 read together with Section 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges prompting the prosecution counsel, Francis Jirbo, Salihu Ahmed, Abdullazeez Sallau Bala-Ribah, Al-Amin Abdul Ibrahim to ask the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly. However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders who had become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Ikponwonba convicted and sentenced Nwanochie, Igbinosa, Daniel, Stanley, Blessing, Wisdom, Odidi, Samson and Obanigba to three years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine.
Aghaeze and Andrew were each given an option of One Hundred Thousand Naira fine in lieu of a three- year jail term
The duo of Destiny and Ifechukwu were convicted and sentenced to community service while Okoawo was cautioned and discharged
Justice Ikponwonba ordered that the balance of N3,531.33 found in Nwanochie’s bank account, and one UBA managers cheque valued N42,174 belonging to Sunday Stanley and the balance in Andrew’s account; one Black Mercedes Benz GLK 350, one Lexus RX 350, laptops and phones being proceeds and instruments of crime be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria