Justice E. A. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced Peter Ayigi Againpriye, an undergraduate of the University of Calabar, to three years imprisonment for impersonation, obtaining money by false pretence and possession of fraudulent documents contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.
He was convicted on Monday, July 17, 2023, after pleading “guilty” to charges of three counts brought against him by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
One of the charges read: “That you, Peter Ayigi Againpriye (aka Diana Wilson) on or about 6th March 2023 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of Three Thousand Euros (€3,000,00) only, from Keess Van Darr under false pretence that you were investing in Forex, which representation 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”.
Another count read: “That you, Peter Ayigi Againpriye (aka Diana Wilson) on or about 16th March 2023, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fraudulently impersonate Diana Wilson 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”.
In view of the “guilty” plea by the defendant, prosecution counsel, E. K. Ebipade called a witness and tendered documents to prove the case.
Items tendered include: iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone XR, Statement of the defendant, consent to search devices form, certificate of compliance and scam documents printed from the defendant’s Instagram account. All tendered documents were accepted by the court and marked as exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
ASE 1, Albert Kukah, an operative of the Commission, while being led in evidence, told the court that the defendant was arrested sometime in June 2023, in an operation tagged, Eagle Sweep, at Golf Estate, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for alleged internet fraud activities.
He disclosed that the investigation revealed that the defendant is involved in internet fraud and opened several Gmail, Instagram and Facebook accounts, and falsely presented himself as Diana Wilson in chats with Keess Van Darr, with whom he defrauded the sum of €3,000 Euros.
Relying on the documents tendered and the testimony of PW 1, the prosecution prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Counsel to the defendant, B. J. Jeoffrey did not oppose the prayers by the prosecution but urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
Justice Obile convicted and sentenced the defendant to one year in prison with Fifty Thousand Naira (N50, 000.00) as the option of fine on each of the counts.
The Judge further ordered that the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone XR recovered from the convict be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.