Two brothers, Ochuko Godfrey and Ochuko Prosper, and 14 others were on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, convicted and sentenced to various jail terms by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
The others are Prosper Enahoro, Ogheneoma Udolu, Raymond Edise, Akai Philip Onochie, Osayi Kennedy Obaseki, Joshua Ngerem, Oghogho Marvelous Ekpuke, Stanley David, Jackson Shebenor, Felix Orevaoghene Emmanuel, Gideon Onaiwu, Johnson Godspower Oghenevwegba, Godspower Emmanuel Jerimaiah, and Felix Wada.
The convicts were arraigned separately on one count charge of impersonation and possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
They were arrested by operatives of the Commission based on actionable intelligence on their alleged internet fraud-related activities. Upon investigation, the convicts were discovered to be involved in different variants of internet fraud. For instance, Ochuko Godfrey impersonated Richard Williams and Antonio Matthew in his attempt to defraud unsuspecting victims.
The charge against Joshua Ngerem reads: “That you, Joshua Ngerem on or about 8th September 2023 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 to Sections 6 and 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of same Act”.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges prompting the prosecution counsel, F.A. Jirbo, I.M Elodi, I. K Agwai, A. A. Ibrahim, I.Faisal and AS Bala-Riba to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Udolu, Idise, Ngerem, Emmanuel, Jerimaiah, and Onaiwu to three years imprisonment or a fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira.
Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the duo of Enahoro and David bagged three years imprisonment with an option of Five Hundred Thousand Naira each.
Shebenor, Ekpuke, Prosper, Godfrey, Wada and Oghenevwegba bagged three years imprisonment or a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira each.
Onochie was sentenced to two years imprisonment with an option of Four Hundred Thousand Naira while Obaseki was sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira.
The judge ordered the forfeiture of the convicts’ mobile phones, one HP Laptop and the balance in their bank accounts, being proceeds of crime, to the Federal government of Nigeria. The court further ordered that the bank accounts be closed.
In a similar development, Justice S. M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin City on Tuesday convicted and sentenced Anah Trust Avwerosuo to two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000 for his involvement in internet fraud. Avwerosuo had impersonated Henri-alva-rezi, an American, to defraud his victims.