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Court Jails 26 Internet Fraudsters in Benin City

The Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, between Friday, March 22, 2024 and Tuesday March 26, 2024 secured the conviction and sentence of 26 internet fraudsters before Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City.

The convicts are Balogun Oladipupo, Ehigiamusoe Desmond, Jeffery Enogieru, Awoke Godstime ThankGod, Gabriel Ugolo, Erhabor ThankGod Idahosa, Obaretin Osahebrunwen Samuel, Ilevba Endurance, Ilevba Isowanmwen, Osakhuwomwen Osayende, Eruangu Salvation, Destiny Osasenagu Osafanmen, Emmanuel Osafanmen, Azuka Victory Nzel, Enehizena Michael, Emmanuel Oladotun Oladotun, Abdulsalam Enakhe.

Others are Cyril Nowanmagbe Ojo, Wisdom Desmond John, Samuel Joseph, Ime Joseph Etim, Imafidon Kelvin, Sylvester Gabriel, Victor Jonathan Chika, Ejike Favour Madukaku and Abdullahi Rahman.

They were jailed after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, possession of fraudulent documents upon arraignment by the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC.

The charge against Ilevba reads: “that you Endurance Osahon Ilevba sometime in 2023 in Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be Jason Statham, an American actor and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 384 (1) of the criminal Law of Edo State Law 2022.”

All the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them, prompting prosecution counsel, F. A. Jirbo. I. M. Elodi, I.K Agwai, K.Y. Bello, Bala-Ribah and Salihu Ahmed to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that they have become remorseful for their actions.

The duo of Ilevba and Endurance Osahon Ilevba bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) each while the quartet of Idahosa, Oladuton Cole, Michael and Abdullahi got two years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred  Thousand Naira) each. Twenty others were sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each.

The judges ordered that the convicts forfeit their phones, laptops, three Mercedes-Benz vehicles, balances in their various bank accounts including the sum of Four Million, 

Fifty Two Thousand, Fifty Two Naira,  Fifty Three kobo (N4,052,052.53) in the account of Ilevba being instrument and proceeds of crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria while Abdullahi was ordered to refund N480,000 to his victim. All the convicts are to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour afterwards.

The convicts’ road to the Correctional Centre began following their arrest by operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the Commission based on actionable intelligence regarding their involvement in internet- related fraud.

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