No Safe Place for Internet Fraudsters Anymore

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If internet fraudsters are smart, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC appears smarter.

Only recently the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  secured the conviction of 15 internet fraudsters before Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City.

The convicts are Sagay Favour, Efemini Kelvin Mudiaga, Izzi Evans, Okim Ekene, Jakpa Godspower and Lucky Alao SeyiEk.

 Others are Adams Jarret, Mathew Ese, Oritsegbogwa Joseph, Joshua Lucky Ojabugbe, Emudiaga Akpojaro, Richard Promise, Aboh Daniel Bonfrey, Deniran Emmanuel Edafe and Orode Ovie,

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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The charge against Edafe eads:
That you Deniran Emmanuel Edafe (M) on or about 3rd day of May, 2024 in Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did have in your possession documents which you knew or ought to have known contain a false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 and 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

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

Justice Ikponmwonba on Monday May, 13, 2024 sentenced Evans, Favour, Godspower, Ekene and Seyi to three years imprisonment or a fine of  N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each while Mudiaga bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200, 000 (Two hundred thousand Naira).

On Tuesday May 14,  Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced  Joseph, Ojeugba, Akpojoro, Bright, Aboh,  Ovie and Orede to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each while Mathew Ese and Jarret  bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of  N100,000.

Justice Ikponmwonba ordered that the sum of N31,900,609.00 (Thirty One million, Nine Hundred Thousand,  Six Hundred and Nine Thousand Naira) and the sum of N4,410,508.28 (Four Million, Four Hundred and Ten thousand, Five hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Eight kobo) and the sum of 172 US dollars found in various bank accounts of Mudiaga and one Toyota Venza,  being proceeds of crime,   be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge also ordered Ozim Ekene to forfeit the three vehicles recovered from him – Mercedes Benz ML350, Mercedes Benz GLE450 and Mercedes Benz C300 being proceeds of crime to the Federal Government.
Justice Itsueli in her ruling ordered that four vehicles recovered from Mathew Ese and Ojabugbe,  Mercedes Benz 350, Two Mercedes Benz GLK and Mercedes Benz ML be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

All the convicts are to forfeit their phones, laptops,  balances in their various bank accounts,  being instruments and proceeds of crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria. They are to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour afterwards

They all bagged their imprisonment after being found guilty by the court upon their arrest and prosecution by the EFCC.

It would be recalled that Operatives of the EFCC has begun nationwide hunt for internet fraudsters. For instance in Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  arrested twenty-three (23) suspected internet fraudsters in Enugu State.

The suspects were arrested on May 10, 2024 in Igboeze, Nsukka and Enugu metropolis following actionable intelligence concerning their alleged online criminal activities.

Items recovered from them include; three cars, mobile phones, laptops, one Point Of Sale (POS) machine and several incriminating documents.

Also the EFCC arrested another seventy-eight (78) suspected internet fraudsters in Enugu and Imo States respectively.

While twenty-nine suspects were arrested on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Enugu State metropolis, the remaining forty-nine suspects were nabbed on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Imo State metropolis.


Items recovered from them include mobile phones, laptops and 13 cars.

Also in Port Harcourt, Operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested  26 (twenty six) suspected internet fraudsters on  May 6 &  May 9, 2024 at the Nigeria Television Authority,  NTA and  Choba axes of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

They were arrested following credible intelligence on their suspected involvement in internet-related activities.

Items recovered from them are different brands of phones,  laptops and six exotic cars

Similarly,  Investigators of the Ibadan Zonal Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 arrested sixty-four suspected internet fraudsters in Osun State.

The suspected cybercriminals were arrested in Ede,  Osun State following actionable intelligence on their suspicious  fraudulent activities in their environs.

Items recovered from them include, 18 exotic vehicles, 18 laptops, 112 mobile phones, three Play Station games, five motorcycles and other incriminating documents among others.

In a similar operation, Operaperatives of EFCC, Uyo Zonal Command arrested forty-four(44) suspected internet fraudsters in an early morning  operation on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Satellite town, Tinapa junction and  parliamentary extension areas of Calabar in Cross River State.

Items recovered from them include six exotic cars,  16 laptops and 38 mobile phones. In a location in Uyo, 21 suspects were arrested out of which five  suspects were arrested at ‘Laundering Lounge’,  Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, on Monday May 6, 2024, sixteen others were arrested on Tuesday May 7, 2024, at Church Road,  off Calabar Itu Road,  Uyo.Items recovered from them include, two luxurious cars, nine laptops, 28 smart phones and two wrist watches.

In Abuja the federal capital, Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Abuja Zonal Command on May 8, 2024 arrested 29 suspected internet fraudsters.

They were arrested at Apo, Gwarimpa and Katampe axes of  Abuja following actionable intelligence report.

Items seized from the suspects include 43 phones of different makes, six vehicles and two smart watches.

On the enlightenment side, the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede has called on students across the country to shun internet fraud and corruption, describing them as evil practices which must be resisted by all means possible.


He made the call in Abuja, at the inauguration of an Integrity Club at Arewa Schools, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

Olukoyede, who spoke through the Deputy Director, Public Affairs Department of the Commission, Nwanyinma Okeanu, said corruption was one of the evils working against the development and progress of the nation and urged the students and Nigerian youths to shun all forms of internet vices.

The Chairman described diversion  of funds, embezzlement, stealing, forgery, bribery, internet fraud and others as clear cases of corrupt practices, which has over the years under-developed the progress and growth of the country.

Speaking on the Integrity Club in schools, the EFCC chairman described the Club as vital tools needed to lay a strong foundation for anti-corruption fight in schools.  He urged every student in the school to be a  part and parcel of the Club to make Nigeria better and greater for the future generation of Nigeria

She explained that the commission deemed it fit to inaugurate the Club in schools because the Commission believes that youths are very important in the fight against corruption.

Speaking earlier, the Principal of the school, Mrs. Elo-Charles Ikpa, appreciated and commended the EFCC on their efforts in inculcating good morals in the students

The word ‘Integrity’ has to do with soundness of mind, morals and standing firm in doing what is right. We have been teaching them this but with this initiative of the EFCC; I believe we will have a more productive result”, she said.


 Meanwhile, as a way to tame corruption in the public sector, the EFCC, the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede has called for a review of the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP Act,  stressing that it will greatly enhance the anti-corruption fight.

Olukoyede,  while playing host to the management team of BPP, led by Mamman Ahmadu  at the EFCC corporate headquarters of the Commission,  Abuja,   disclosed that the BPP Act  needed to be reworked in the overall interest of the nation.

“Over the years, you have been able to define certain scopes that are helping to drive our contract and procurement award processes but we still notice that there is still much more to be done

In fact,  the law has not been fully operationalized. We also discovered that the law as it is has not aided prosecution much. It has to be reviewed. I am not sure that I can remember any specific case where we secured a conviction using the provisions of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act. I am not sure that the EFCC has secured any conviction using the BPP Act. If we really mean business about sanitizing our contract and procurement award processes,  we have to do something about the BPP Act and review it in such a way that it can address some of these concerns,” he said.

Speaking further on the matter, the anti-graft czar stated that “There are so many areas where we need to sit down and examine some of the things we are doing in the interest of the country. There is a need for us to work together. The essence of prevention is that we don’t have to wait until a contract is awarded and money stolen.


The EFCC boss also expressed worry over BPP’s procedure of issuance of Certificate of No Objection to applicants on some items for procurement. “Also, the issue of Certificate of No Objection has become a thing of concern to us. We crave your indulgence to again look inwards at your processes and procedures and how the Certificate of No Objection is being given out to applicants,” he said.

While stating that the issue of contract and procurement award processes should be taken more seriously to ensure good results in the fight against corruption,  Olukoyede noted that the greatest number of corruption in public sector space in the country verge on contract and procurement.

“Having spent some time within the regulatory compliance environment and enforcement, I discovered that the greatest form of corruption is the one related to contract and procurement activities”

“And I have also come to discover that fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with Nigerians. There is no country where you won’t find people who try to vitiate and circumvent the process. Why our corruption is more pronounced is not because of the people but the system we operate. Our institutions are not strengthened to work. So, people take advantage of our weak institutions to perpetrate these things. If you take an average Nigerian to an environment where people observe compliance, you will be shocked by the spirit of excellence that would drive what he would do”, he said.


He also emphasized the primacy of collaboration between the EFCC and BPP especially in the area of prevention as an anti-corruption mechanism. “There are a few things that are of mutual concern to both agencies, especially the issue of collaboration. Like I keep saying, nobody can win this battle alone. There is a need for us to all work together both regulators and enforcers of the law.

In his remarks, Ahmadu noted that there is a need for better collaboration between the EFCC and BPP was the motivation for the visit by his team. According to him,

“The reason why I am visiting the EFCC for the second time is to seek for collaboration. In most organisations,  there are three ‘Cs’ that are very vital for successful management. They are commitment, collaboration and coordination. We are fighting corruption in our own way and we are happy to collaborate with the EFCC. Before the establishment of BPP, most procurements were carried out without a review by another agency of government”

We get a number of letters from the EFCC, asking some questions on some procurements done, if they were done well. Our officials are very committed and willing to collaborate and would like to come and shed light on some of your cases if we are invited”, he said.

For now, the EFCC is on the lookout for corrupt persons

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