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EFCC intensifies crackdown on fraudsters, yahoo boys across states

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has intensified its war against all forms of financial crimes and fraudsters across the country, even as it vowed to undermine the antics of all criminals including internet scammers called Yahoo boys.

Indications to this development emerged when the commission on November 27, arraigned one Yusha’u Mohammed Kebbe before Justice Darius Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court, Kaduna on an eight-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust involving multi-million sums of money.

According to a statement issued by the Head of the Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the complainant alleged that in 2006 while he was in Sudan for a United Nations military operations, the defendant who is his childhood friend convinced him to invest in some projects that he is handling, for which he transferred the sum of N80,000,000 (Eighty Million Naira) in local currency to him and $156,200,000 (One Hundred and Fifty-six Million, Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) for investment, safe keeping and settlement of personal commitments on his behalf.

The complainant through enquiries later found out that the defendant diverted all the monies for his personal use while all the efforts to recover them have proved abortive till date.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Yusha’u Mohammed Ahmed on or about the 16th day of January, 2017 at Kaduna, within the jurisdiction of the high court of Kaduna, being entrusted with certain property to wit; the sum of $156,200, 000 (One Hundred and Fifty-six Million, Two Hundred Thousand Dollars United States Dollar) only, belonging to Major General K. A, and thereby committed criminal breach of trust; an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Law Cap. 89 Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Law.”

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, upon which the prosecution team, led by D. Ademu-Eteh urged the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded in prison custody, while the defence counsel Y.A. Abass urged the court to grant him bail.

The judge remanded him in prison custody and adjourned the case to November 28, 2019 for hearing and possible ruling on the bail application.

In a related development the EFCC has also dragged one Dennis Joke Emuekevwo before Justice Mariya. M. Ismaila of the Niger State High Court, Suleja on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and cheating to the tune of N557,000 (Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven Thousand Naira).

Emuekevwo, a team leader and supervisor in Real Aid Development Initiative, was arraigned by the Abuja Zonal Office of the Commission, the statement added.

One of the charges reads: “That you Dennis Joke Emuekevwo, sometime in 2018 in Suleja within the judicial division of this honourable court, whilst acting  in your capacity as a Team leader/supervisor in Real Aid Development Initiative was entrusted to supervise the operations of the said office, you dishonestly  converted the aggregate sum of N557,000( Five Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand Naira) to your own use and thereby committed a criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum contrary to and punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code.”

He pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which prosecution counsel Aishatu Ibrahim asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand him in a correctional center, pending trial.

Responding, defence counsel, E.E Ekpo, prayed the court for a short date for the hearing of his bail application.

Justice Ismaila adjourned the matter until December 4, 2019 for hearing on the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

Meanwhile Justice Joyce Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, sentenced one Malik Olayemi Oladimeji to eight months in prison after finding him guilty of fraudulent impersonation in an amended one-count charge, filed against him by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The convict is to restitute $USD75 (Seventy-five U.S. Dollars) to his victims through the EFCC and also forfeited his Nokia C3 and Infinix X510 mobile phones (being instruments in the crime) to the federal government.

The amended charge to which the convict pleaded guilty is contrary to Section 22 (2)(b)(i) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(b) of the same Act.

Following his plea of guilt, prosecution counsel, Mabas Mabur prayed the court to convict and sentence him in accordance with the plea bargain he reached with the prosecution.

In a related development, Justice Watilat Ibrahim of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has ordered five suspected internet fraudsters to be remanded in prison custody, pending the filing and hearing of their bail applications.

The suspects: Babalola Oluwadamilare Oladipipo, Olalekan Agbeseyi, Babalola Gbenga Samuel Owosho, Omoniyi sola Femi  and Olamidotun Johnson Ibikunle were arraigned separately on different count charges that border on impersonation, possession of fraudulent documents and obtaining money under false pretence.

They all pleaded not guilty to their respective charges following which the team of prosecution counsels, made up of Ifeanyi Agwu and Iyabo Daramola prayed the court for a trial date and for the suspects to be remanded in prison custody.

Justice Watilat ordered that the suspects be remanded in prison custody pending the filing and hearing of their bail applications and adjourned the matter until January 21 and January 27, 2020.

The anti-graft agency also extended its tentacles to Port Harcourt, Rivers State where it secured the conviction of another yahoo boy, Charles Iwu, (alias  Ana Tong, TinH HO and Tony LY),  who bagged a three-year jail term on November 25 with N400,000 option of fine.

Justice J.Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, also ordered that the culprit also forfeits the proceeds of his crime to the federal government.

The convict was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Benin Zonal Office on a one -count charge of impersonation, having assumed a false identity of one Ana Tong , an American citizen on Facebook, through which he  sent documents to unsuspecting ladies with the intent to defraud them.

The charges reads: “That you Charles Iwu (Alias Ana Tong, TrinH Ho and Tony LY) sometime between 2018 and June 2019 in Warri Delta State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently impersonate on your Facebook account the identity of one Ana Tong, an American and sent documents to unsuspecting ladies through the internet which documents you claim emanated from the said Ana Tong with the intent to obtain money from the ladies and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(IV) of the same Act.”

He pleaded guilty to the charge, upon which prosecution counsel, Austin.A.Ozigbu prayed the court to convict and sentence him in accordance with the plea bargain agreement his counsel Lezina Amegua entered with the prosecution.

The EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has vowed that there won’t be any hiding place for all forms of fraudsters in the country even as he urged stakeholders in the Nigerian society to imbibe integrity and hard work, which are necessary to catalyze Nigerians towards playing positive roles in national development.

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