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EFCC: Court jails 41 Yahoo boys in Anambra

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BY SUNNY A. DAVID, AWKA

Anambra State has witnessed a major breakthrough in the fight against fraud and cybercrime, with 41 internet fraudsters convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment each in a single week, demonstrating the state’s commitment to tackling criminal activities.

This is coming after the suspects pleaded guilty to one-count separate charges bordering on obtaining by false pretence, possession of fraudulent documents, personation and aiding in committing an offence.

Arraigned by the Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the charges before a Federal High Court sitting in Onitsha, Anambra State, and presided over by Justices S. M Shuaibu and Hauwa Inuwa, the suspects were sentenced for violating certain sections of relevant laws regarding their offences.

One of the separate charges reads: “That you, Uwakwe Chikezie Raphael sometime in 2024 in Onitsha, Anambra State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Nigeria, fraudulently impersonated the identity of Everly Ruby, a female foreigner through a Google account, via your iphone X with intent to obtain money from unsuspecting foreign nationals and in order to gain advantage of yourself and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act”.

All the 41 defendants pleaded “guilty” when their charges were read to them separately, and in view of their pleas, Michael Ikechukwu Ani, counsel to the EFCC prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

However, defence counsel, Wisdom Ogbonna, Bernard Okeke, James Nwatarali and Arinze Anyigo pleaded the court for leniency and to temper justice with mercy in sentencing their clients, adding that they have shown enough remorse for their actions.

Justice Inuwa, on Thursday, May 2, 2024, convicted and sentenced 27 of the convicts while the rest 14 were convicted on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Those convicted on May 3 are: Chiadi, Samuel, Chinecherem, Timothy, Stanley, Bright, Iwu, Lukman, Nweke, Chukwuemeka, Okafor, Stephen, Chiemerie and Christian to one year imprisonment each with an option of fine of N100, 000. 00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira).

The Justices also ordered that the convicts should be involved in Community Service in line with Section 462 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and ordered that items recovered from them, which include their mobile phones and laptops be auctioned through the EFCC and proceeds paid into the Treasury Single Account.

The convicts are: Douglas James, Raphael Chikezie Uwakwe, Paul Chidera Kalu, Chisom Linus, Chiemezie Nweke, Eze Ugochukwu Stanley, Ndubuisi Nwafor, Ifeanyi Samuel, Nwosu Chukwuemeka, Madueke Emmanuel, Edozie Daniel Timothy, Ahmed Fredrick Lukman, Godwin Chukwuemelie Julius, Okafor Vincent Chiemerie, Ugochukwu Raphael Ena, Chukwuemeka Franklin Obiji, Chimaobi Emmanuel Gabriel, Abonyi Chibuike Jude, Chiemelie Igboekwuna Christian and Okafor Chukwuma Desmond.

Others include: Jezreel Arihiakamah Chinwendu, Paul Okereke Chiadi, Peter Chidera Iwu, Onyeji Victor Chinecherem, Tochukwu Eze Solomon, Fred Chidera Okoye, Ezema Chiemerie Stanley, Emeka Ogbonna Daniel, Obinna Stanley Okafor, Udochukwu Peter Nnaewezie, Ebuka Johnson Olu, Okochi Ebuka Stanley, Promise Ogbodo Echezona, Ebuka Chukwu Joshua, Chisom Henry Udeagwueze, Ihechi Okechukwu Bright, Chibueze Maxwell Stephen, Ebuka Lucky Nwankwo, Isah Chinonso Peter, Ifeanyi Oguoke Kingsley and Chinonso Eze Innocent.

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