Justices S. I. Mark and P. M. Ayuba of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have convicted and sentenced two internet fraudsters: Okoro Uchechukwu and Emeka Paul Ezenwadi to two years imprisonment each for internet- related fraud.
They were jailed on Monday, April 4, 2022 after pleading “guilty” to one-count separate charge bordering on impersonation, upon being arraigned by the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The one- count charge read:
“That you Okoro Uchechukwu, sometimes in August, 2021, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently impersonated one Emma Nina Pereira, a female student of the United States of America Army School via your Google account with email address: email@example.com with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) of the same Act”.
In view of their pleas of “guilty”, prosecution counsels: I. Agu and C. O. Oni prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Defense counsels: F. A. Bigha and B. J. Geoffrey prayed the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the defendants, stressing that, “they are first -time offenders, with no previous criminal records”.
Justice Ayuba convicted and sentenced Ezenwadi to two years imprisonment, with an option of fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100, 000.00) payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federation.
Also, Justice Mark convicted and sentenced Uchechukwu to two years imprisonment, with an option of fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300, 000.00), payable into the same Federal Government’s account.
The judges ordered that the proceeds of crime; a black Dell Laptop, one iPhone x, and three Apple wrist watches, should be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The items are to be sold via public auction by the EFCC’s Secretary, and the proceeds paid into the EFCC Recovery Account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria. The convicts should also depose to affidavits of good behaviour before the court.
Ezenwadi and Uchechukwu’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when they were arrested in a sting operation by operatives of the EFCC at Aba Owerri Road, Aba, Abia state , for internet- related offences. Further investigations showed that they were involved in fraudulent cyber dealings