• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Ilorin court convicts 6 internet fraudsters


…as EFCC seeks partnership with NIPR on fight against corruption

Michael Nzekwe, the Ilorin Zonal Commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said that the Commission has secured the conviction of six fraudsters before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin.

The convicts are Ismail Abdulbasit from Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State; Oladipo Victor from Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State; Ibrahim Oluwatosin from Ipetumodu in Osun State; Ayantola Segun Samuel from Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State; Musbau Waris Atomo from Orolu Local Government Area of Osun State and one Babalola Rasaq Oluwadamilare from Ogun State.

Read also:interest Court sends 15 internet fraudsters to jail in Benin

The latest conviction brings to 30 the number of persons convicted from the 50 suspects which comprised 48 students of the Kwara State University, KWASU, and two residents of Malete that were arrested during a sting operation by operatives of the EFCC over internet fraud related offences on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

They were convicted and sentenced to various jail terms after the court found them guilty of the separate counts brought against them by the EFCC.

In one of the charges against the convicts, particulars of the charge against Abdulbasit read:

“That you, Ismail Abdulbasit between in February 2024 at Malete, Kwara State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, fraudulently impersonate one Jason Boone from United States of America with intent to gain advantage for yourself thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc.) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2)(b) (iv) of the same Act”

In addition, the charge against Victor reads: “That you, Oladipo Victor, sometime between July 2023 at Ilorin, Kwara State within the judicial division of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Barros-Andre vide your Instagram account: barros_andre_22 with the intent to obtain from one Emrah Yilmaz and did obtain the sum of EUR 300 (Three Hundred Euro) through Skrill App with identity [email protected] thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc.) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2)(b) (iv) of the same Act.”

Upon their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Innocent Mbachie and Charles Oni reviewed the facts of the cases and tendered the statements of the defendants. The prosecutor also tendered in evidence items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest including the various sums of money, which they benefited from the unlawful activities which were not controverted by the defence.

In her judgment, Anyadike ordered the trio of Ibrahim, Babalola and Oluwatosin to pay a fine of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira Only) each while ordering Oladipo, Ismail and Ayantola to pay a sum of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira Only) each as fine.

The judge also ordered that all phones which the convicts used as instruments of the crime and the money, which they brought as restitutions be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, Nzekwe has called on members of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), to complement the work of the EFCC, describing the role of the institute as vital in the fight against corruption in Nigeria

“The NIPR occupies a unique place in the fight against corruption and impunity in Nigeria. The institute must do all it could to project the activities of the Commission positively at all times and fight quackery in the industry to checkmate the spread of fake news”, he said.

Nzekwe gave the charge while playing host to the executive members of the NIPR, Kwara Chapter, led by the Commissioner for Communications, Bola Olukoju, who were on advocacy visit to the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Commission.

He said, “For corruption to be effectively tackled, the institute must align itself with the ideals of the Commission and progressive aspirations of Nigerians.”

He gave instances of occasions when the works of the Commission were misrepresented in the media, which he tied to calculated efforts by unpatriotic elements and the corrupt to discredit its good works.

While stressing the need for continued collaboration between the NIPR and the Commission, the zonal commander called on the institute to always uphold the ethics of their profession and always apply sanctions on erring practitioners.

He thanked the guests for the visit and assured that their request regarding the release of the Command’s public affairs officers for participation in the forthcoming national spokespersons summit in Abuja would be transmitted to the management for consideration and approval.

The leader of the delegation and Commissioner for Communications, Bola Olukoju, had earlier appreciated the zonal commander for the warm reception accorded her team.

She commended the EFCC for its efforts in ensuring that corruption becomes a thing of the past in this country, and assured that the Kwara State Government would continue to give necessary support to the Commission in its bid to free the state of corruption.

Speaking on the essence of the visit, a council member and professor of communication studies, University of Ilorin, Saudat Abdulbaqi, stressed the importance of public relations in an organisation.

The University Don also commended the EFCC for having a strong media team in Kwara, describing it as a pride to the institute. She enjoined the zonal commander to ensure the active participation of the officers in the institute’s meetings and activities whenever the need arises.