Benin City, Edo State: In a significant legal development, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court, Benin City, handed down convictions and sentences to 16 individuals, including two brothers, Ochuko Godfrey and Ochuko Prosper, on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. The defendants were found guilty of impersonation and possession of fraudulent documents, following arraignments by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The convicted individuals, whose names include Prosper Enahoro, Ogheneoma Udolu, Raymond Edise, Akai Philip Onochie, Osayi Kennedy Obaseki, Joshua Ngerem, Oghogho Marvelous Ekpuke, Stanley David, Jackson Shebenor, Felix Orevaoghene Emmanuel, Gideon Onaiwu, Johnson Godspower Oghenevwegba, Godspower Emmanuel Jerimaiah, and Felix Wada, were apprehended based on actionable intelligence regarding their alleged involvement in internet fraud-related activities.
Investigations revealed that the convicts participated in various forms of internet fraud. For instance, Ochuko Godfrey impersonated individuals named Richard Williams and Antonio Matthew in his fraudulent activities.
One of the charges against Joshua Ngerem stated, “That you, Joshua Ngerem on or about September 8, 2023, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did have in your possession documents that you knew or ought to have known contained a false pretense and thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 6 and 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
Upon their arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, including F.A. Jirbo, I.M. Elodi, I.K. Agwai, A.A. Ibrahim, I. Faisal, and AS Bala-Riba, to request the court convict them and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Ikponmwonba handed down sentences ranging from two to three years in prison, accompanied by fines ranging from one hundred thousand naira to five hundred thousand naira. Additionally, the court ordered the forfeiture of the convicts’ mobile phones, an HP laptop, and the balances in their bank accounts as proceeds of crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria, with the directive to close the bank accounts.
In a related development, Justice S. M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Benin City sentenced Anah Trust Avwerosuo to two years in prison or a fine of N200,000 for his involvement in internet fraud. Avwerosuo impersonated an American citizen named Henri-alva-rezi to defraud his victim.