June 23, 2024

N525m fraud: Appeal court Upholds conviction of Internet fraudster

N525million fraud: Appeal court Upholds conviction of Internet fraudster

Glory Ebomah

The Calabar Division of the Court of Appeal, on Friday, June 23, 2023, upheld the conviction of a notorious international fraudster, Scales Olatunji who was convicted for internet fraud and money laundering charges by a Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Justice Agatha Okeke had on June 27, 2022, found Olatunji guilty of forty-five count charges of internet fraud and money laundering preferred against him by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC and sentenced him to 235 years imprisonment, without an option of a fine.

The convict was prosecuted, following the receipt of a petition by Oslo Police District, Norway, requesting the assistance of the Commission in investigating a network of Nigerian citizens, who had serially duped some Norwegians.

Investigations showed that the convict belonged to a syndicate of internet fraudsters who specialized in Business Email Compromise, BEC. Olatunji defrauded the Norwegian Government and its citizens to the tune of N525, 172, 580 (Five Hundred and Twenty-Five Million, One Hundred and Seventy-Two Thousand, Five Hundred and Eighty Naira). He used the proceeds of the crime to purchase luxurious properties in choice areas within Lagos State.

The offence is in contravention of the provisions of Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

However, dissatisfied with the judgment, Olatunji approached the appellate court, where he raised 11 grounds of appeal and prayed the court to set aside the judgment of Justice Okeke.

While arguing against the appeal, counsel to the EFCC, Nwandu Ukoha prayed the court to uphold the judgment of the lower court and dismiss the appeal on the grounds that “the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubts”.

Delivering judgment on Friday, the three-man panel led by Justice Muhammed Baba Idris, upheld the conviction of Olatunji and dismissed his appeal.

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