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12 plead guilty to internet fraud in Calabar, jailed

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The alleged internet fraudsters jailed in Calabar

By Ayorinde Oluokun

Twelve alleged internet fraudsters have been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in Calabar, Cross Rivers State. after they pleaded guilty to charges leveled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The suspects were docked by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justices Ijeoma Ojukwu and Rosemary Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, Dele Oyewale, the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency said in a statement.

They were arraigned on two-count charges bordering on criminal impersonation on social media platforms with intent to defraud unsuspecting members of the society, barring Akpabio, Ukpai, and Peter who faced one-count charges respectively.

Justice Ojukwu convicted and sentenced 11 of the suspects. They are Nwaeke Vitalis Ndubisi, Kingsley Goodnews, Inyang Victor, Ekere-Obong Adams, Usang Enang, Ogudu James, Arinze Nelly, David Dede, Ibeawuchi Okwukwechukwu, Prince Samuel Ukpai and Ekpo Peter, Justice Oghoghorie convicted and sentenced Joshua Akpabio.

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The convicts were arrested at different locations in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States for internet offences.

The charge against Ndubuisi reads: “That you, NWAEKE VITALIS NDUBUISI “M” sometime in August 2023, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did fraudulently present yourself as Cytal Barton to unsuspecting victims on the social media platform; Facebook with intent to gain advantage for yourself did take possession of the sum of N150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) knowing that the money forms part of the proceed of an unlawful act to wit; impersonation thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (2) (d) of the Money Launder (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2022 and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.”

They all pleaded guilty to their charges when they were read to them, following which prosecution counsel Joshua Abolarin and Mahmud Khamis prayed the courts to convict and sentence them accordingly, while defence counsel, Tom Udeme, Francis Ezike , Innocent Eze and Henry Iyipiyayo prayed the courts for leniency on the ground that the defendants were first time offenders.

After listening to the arguments of both the prosecution and defence counsel, Justice Ojukwu handed Ndubisi, Goodnews, Victor, Adams, Enang, James, Nelly, Dede and Okwukwechukwu six months jail term on each of their two-count charges which is to run concurrently and six months jail term to Peter and Ukpai on their one-count charge, while Akpabio bagged a one year jail term, with the option to pay a N1 million fine from Justice Oghoghorie.

In addition to their jail terms, Adams restituted the sum of $100, Enang $200 and Dede $450 to their victims.

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