Lagos Internet Fraudsters Convicted as EFCC, Lawyers Chart Moral Path for Judiciary
Court Jails Eight Internet Fraudsters
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, July 11, 2019, secured the conviction and sentencing of four internet fraudsters, Shotayo Ahmed, Ale Olugbenga Abraham, Preye Kinsley and Akintoye Toluwalope for possession of fraudulent documents before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Shotayo Ahmed, on or about the 8th day of December, 2018 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, had in your possession an email opened with the name email@example.com, wherein you chatted with a white man represented yourself to be a lady in order to create a relationship to entice him to give you money which document was printed out from your email account firstname.lastname@example.org in your presence, which you ought to know, having regards to the circumstances of the case, that the document contains the false pretence.”
Also on Thursday, July 11, 2019, Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, convicted and sentenced four internet fraudsters, Ibrahim Habeeb Olalekan, Ogunlami Adetokunbo Gabriel, Adeosun Adeyemi and Sadiq Adeola, to one year imprisonment each for possession of fraudulent documents.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ibrahim Habeeb Olalekan, on or about the 13th day of June, 2019, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, had in your possession document titled “persona Info”, where you represented yourself as Nancy Crawhorn (a female), which representations you knew or ought to have known to be false.” They pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them by the Commission when they were arraigned.
In view of their pleas of guilt, the prosecution counsels, Samuel Daji, E.S.Okon and Ukemruwem Anana, informed the court that the defendants had entered into a “plea bargain” with the EFCC.
Consequently, the facts of the case against the defendants were reviewed by the prosecution.
The prosecution counsels informed Justice Taiwo’s court of the defendants’ confessional statements to the EFCC and that several items were recovered from them.
Their statements as well as documents recovered from them were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court.
In view of this, the prosecution urged the court to “convict the defendants as charged in the plea bargain agreement”.
Justice Taiwo, after perusing the facts before the court, convicted and sentenced both Ahmed and Abraham to three months imprisonment each.
The Judge also convicted and sentenced Kinsley and Toluwalope to four months imprisonment each.
All items recovered from the defendants were ordered to be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Justice Taiwo further gave Ahmed, Toluwalope and Abraham an “option of fine” of N250, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) each.
The Judge, however, refused Kinsley an option of fine.
The defendants before Justice Dada also pleaded guilty to the charges when they were read to them. In view of their pleas of guilt, the prosecution informed the court that the defendants had entered into a “plea bargain” with the EFCC.
The facts of the case against the defendants were reviewed by the prosecution. The prosecution also told the court that the defendants wrote confessional statements to the EFCC and that several items were recovered from them.
The defendants’ statements to the EFCC as well as the documents recovered from them were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court. The prosecution, therefore, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged in the plea bargain agreement”.
After going through the facts of the case before the court, Justice Dada convicted and sentenced the defendants to one year imprisonment each.
The Judge also ordered that all items recovered from the convicts be forfeited to the Federal Government. Justice Dada, however, gave the convicts an option of fine of N250, 000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) each.
The Judge further ordered the convicts to write an “undertaking” with the EFCC, promising never to go back to the crime.
The convicts were further ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfilment of the option of fine.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
Magu, Senior Lawyers Chart Moral Path for Judiciary
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has called on senior lawyers and judicial officers to be of high rectitude.
Magu made the call on Friday, July 12, 2019 at a forum titled: “Public Discourse on Justice Delivery in Nigeria: “A Framework for Reform,” organized in Abuja by Justice Reform Project, JRP.
According to Magu, “Irrespective of what the challenges are in the judiciary, senior lawyers and particularly judicial officers must be of high rectitude, and must be seen to be so.” The contrary he said, “spells hopelessness and doom for the society.”
The EFCC boss noted that lawyers and judges complement the work of the EFCC, stating that the Commission and the judiciary are partners in progress.
“The increasing successes we are achieving as a Commission in the areas of convictions, asset forfeiture and recovery and in all aspects of our anti-corruption fight would not have been possible without judicial officers and legal practitioners doing their own bit,” he noted.
Speaking further, he said: “Your decision to make me part of today’s event has been rewarding for me, especially your expert perspectives on the common issues that confront us all in our legal system and the judiciary.
“I wish to state at this juncture that the judiciary is central to the work we do in the EFCC, both bar and the bench are our partners in progress.”
While observing that the Commission has prosecuted judicial officers and senior lawyers and earned conviction, he assured that his respect for the bench and senior members of the bar remained undiminished.
He lauded the positive impacts of the 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act in enabling the wheel of justice delivery in the country, and called on state governments to emulate the Lagos State government in establishing courts that will be designated for economic and financial crimes commission cases, noting that both have helped in the quicker dispensation of justice in corruption cases.
“In February 1, 2018, the Lagos State government inaugurated two courts, designated for economic and financial crimes Commission cases. These two developments (inclusive of 2015 Administration of Criminal Justice Act) have in no small measure helped in the quick dispensation of justice in corruption cases and the increasing convictions we have been able to secure as anti-graft entity.
“In the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, we crave that all other states of the federation would emulate Lagos State in this direction. Doing so falls in line with the Commission’s Establishment Act,” Magu said.
On her part, Mrs. Funke Adekoye, SAN, called for the sanitisation of the judicial system, through imposition of sanctions on legal practitioners who are found to have unnecessarily delayed the arguing of cases as well as judges who are slow to give judgments.
Adekoye also canvassed the publishing of names of aspiring judges by government in national dailies for public moral assessment of their characters. “By so doing, bad eggs will be weeded out of the race”, she said.
The JRP is a new professional interventionist initiative in the Nigerian judiciary, facilitated by 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, drawn across the geo-political divides of the country.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity