The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abuja Zonal Command, obtained the conviction of seventeen online fraudsters before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court 1, Enugu, Enugu State, on Wednesday.
The convicts are Aguoha Ujunwa, Samson Ebuzoeme, Iwuji Kelechi John Kennedy, Onyeanu Kinsley, Emmanuel Udo, Mmesoma Emmanuel, Prosper Chizaram Ugochukwu, Chima Chibuike Kingsley, Nzeadi Chika Camillus, Nwaugu Nzubechi Bethel.
Others are Opara Ikenna Christopher, Chindorom Gideoan Ehimere, Okoroafor Samuel and Obaa Emeka Ama, Osinachi Goodness Nwokore, Smart Clinton Onyinyoma, Iheanacho Ikenna, Chinonso Henry Ogu and Anyanwu Foxby.
The suspects were each charged with a single count of cybercrime.
The EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, stated this in a statement.
The one-count charge read: “That you Prosper Chizaram Ugochukwu sometime in 2022 at Enugu, Enugu State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently cloned 20 different Facebook accounts of various unsuspecting individuals without their consent then used same accounts with intent to defraud other individuals and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2) (b) (ii) of the Cybercrime (Prevention, Prohibition, etc.) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.”
Seventeen of the nineteen suspects pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them, and were subsequently sentenced to one year imprisonment each, with an option of fine of N1,000, 000( One Million Naira) each, except for Nzeadi Chika Camillus who was given a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira because he had forfeited a Lexus RX350 car, a proceed of the crime worth N4700,000 (Four Million Seven Hundred Thousand Naira). The convicts are also to forfeit the gadgets used in committing the crime to the Federal Government.
However, two other suspects, Aguoha Ujunwa and Smart Clinton Onyinyoma, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them, prompting the Judge to set their bail term at N5,000,000( Five Million Naira) each with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Buba adjourned the matter to May 25, 2022, for a full trial of the two defendants.