Senate Defends Confirmation Of New EFCC Boss, Says He Was Never Arrested For Corruption

 

The Senate has defended its decision to confirm the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Bawa’s confirmation on Wednesday comes shortly after he appeared before the upper chamber for his screening.

The confirmation comes amidst allegations and controversial report that the new EFCC chairman had previously been arrested for engaging in corrupt activities

But speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, hours after Bawa’s confirmation, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Kwari said the new EFCC boss was never arrested for corruption charges.

“There were wild allegations that could not be proven. If anything at all, the young man was not queried, he was not arrested and I think he came vehemently and defended that within the floor of the Senate,” he said.

“There wasn’t much to investigate, what was suggested to have been an offence on his part was not in anywhere within the cycles of government.”

When asked if his committee did a background check before confirming the appointment of the new EFCC boss, the lawmaker insisted that the allegations levelled against Bawa were wild allegations.

While noting that Bawa debunked all the allegations, Senator Kwari said his performance before the floor of the Senate was satisfactory, thus necessitating his confirmation.

On the capacity of the Bawa to lead effectively head the anti-graft agency, the senator said he is confident that the new EFCC chairman would deliver.

“All investigators of EFCC have gotten police background. Their first trainers on recruitment happen to be police.

“Everything that has been done in EFCC happens to be teleguided by the police. What Mr. President has done is just to look within,” he added.

Bawa Denies Selling Assets Seized By EFCC In Port Harcourt

 

The newly confirmed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has denied selling off any assets seized by the commission in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.

He made this known on Wednesday while being screened for the new position by the Senate.

According to him, the EFCC chairman has no power to dispose of assets.

Bawa further explained that it is the sole responsibility of the secretary of the commission.

The new EFCC boss also gave an assurance that under his administration, the commission must recover all stolen assets for the betterment of Nigerians.

Read Also: We Must Repatriate All Stolen Assets For Benefit Of Nigerians – Abdulrasheed Bawa

He said he will work with strategic partners around the world to see that Nigeria benefits from the repatriation of assets stolen from her coffers.

According to Mr. Bawa, the EFCC will achieve its independent objective by sharing information with its partners.

During the screening by the lawmakers, Bawa assured the lawmakers that the Constitution will guide his actions, should he be confirmed as EFCC Chairman.

He promised that at the end of his tenure, the EFCC will be a better place than he met it, noting that his training by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively will come in handy. 

Responding to questions regarding what he will do differently from his predecessors, Mr. Bawa said he will reposition the commission by ensuring that it strengthens its standard operating procedures and improve on them.

He also stated that there will be more transparency and accountability.

Abdulrasheed Bawa Promises To Represent Youths As EFCC Boss

Abdulrasheed Bawa being quizzed by the Senate as part of proceedings for his confirmation as EFCC boss.

 

The new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa says his performance will pave new paths to governance for young Nigerians.

Speaking before the Senate, Bawa said, “I am going to give the young people a very good representation in the governance of this country so that more young people will be given more responsibility in this country.” 

Bawa who was confirmed after being screened by the legislators on Wednesday said it is the dream of every patriotic Nigerian to see the nation growing to a greater height, adding that he will love to contribute his quota in seeing that the country soars.

READ ALSO: Senate Confirms Abdulrasheed Bawa As New EFCC Boss

Earlier while introducing himself and his goal for the antigraft agency, Bawa stated that he would love to help the nation recover all stolen assets for the betterment of Nigerians.

The new EFCC boss said he will work with strategic partners around the world to see that Nigeria benefits from the repatriation of assets stolen from her coffers.

According to Mr. Bawa, the EFCC will achieve its independent objective by sharing information with its partners.

Bawa stated that the constitution will guide his actions, adding that at the end of his tenure, the EFCC will be a better place than he met it because his training by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively will come in handy. 

Responding to questions regarding what he will do differently from his predecessors, Mr. Bawa said he will reposition the commission by ensuring that it strengthens its standard operating procedures and improve on them.

He also stressed that there will be more transparency and accountability.

While acknowledges that the EFFC has issues with the management of assets, the nominated EFCC boss said if confirmed, he will embark on the digitization of the offices for proper record keeping.

We Must Repatriate All Stolen Assets For Benefit Of Nigerians – Abdulrasheed Bawa

A file photo of the new EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

 

The newly nominated boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has said the nation must recover all stolen assets for the betterment of Nigerians. 

Mr. Bawa who stated this while appearing before the Senate on Wednesday said he will work with strategic partners around the world to see that Nigeria benefits from the repatriation of assets stolen from her coffers.

According to Mr. Bawa, the EFCC will achieve its independent objective by sharing information with its partners.

During his screening by the lawmakers, Bawa stated that the constitution will guide his actions should he be confirmed as EFCC Chairman.

READ ALSO: Senate Screens Abdulrasheed Bawa As EFCC Boss

He promised that at the end of his tenure, the EFCC will be a better place than he met it, noting that his training by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively will come in handy. 

Responding to questions regarding what he will do differently from his predecessors, Mr. Bawa said he will reposition the commission by ensuring that it strengthens its standard operating procedures and improve on them.

He also stated that there will be more transparency and accountability.

While acknowledges that the EFFC has issues with the management of assets, the nominated EFCC boss said if confirmed, he will embark on the digitization of the offices for proper record keeping.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Fixes April 20 To Hear Kalu’s Suit Against EFCC

File photo of ex-Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu in court.

 

Hearing in the suit by former Governor of Abia State and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu seeking to stop his retrial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on same alleged money laundering charges has been adjourned to April 20.

The adjournment is predicated on the fact the EFCC, which is listed as the first defendant in the suit, was not properly served with the originating summons.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, Rotimi Jacobs who announced appearance for the Commission on protest drew the attention of the court to the fact that the originating summons was served on his chambers instead of the EFCC.

He told Justice Inyang Ekwo that he was yet to be briefed by the anti-graft agency as its counsel and it would amount to professional misconduct to accept processes on the matter.

In his response, Professor Awa Kalu who appeared for Senator Kalu said he has no problem serving the EFCC with the originating summons.

Justice Ekwo accordingly adjourned the case to April 20 for hearing and directed the applicant to serve the EFCC within seven days.

READ ALSO: Shasha Crisis: Makinde Approves Immediate Reopening Of Market

The court had on February 8, 2021, granted leave to Senator Kalu to challenge his retrial by the EFCC on the same charges upon which he was sentenced and convicted.

Justice Inyang Ekwo thereafter, ordered that the planned re-arraignment of Senator Kalu in the alleged ₦7.1billion money-laundering charges be put on hold until the resolution of the legal questions raised against his retrial.

In a motion exparte argued by his counsel, Senator Kalu asked for an order of Court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged money laundering charges against him.

He contended that having been tried, convicted and sentenced the on same charges a Federal High court presided over by Justice M.B. Idris, it will amount to double jeopardy if he is subjected to a fresh trial on the same charges.

Justice Ekwo in his ruling, granted leave to Senator Kalu to seek an order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating same.

An order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the charge as it concerns charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy.

The court further ordered that the leave should operate as a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application.

Justice Ekwo in his ruling held that the applicant who is fully clothed with the locus standi has placed sufficient materials in his supporting affidavits to warrant the court to exercise its discretion in his favor.

“Leave is at the discretion of the court under order 34(2) of the Federal High Court. In granting leave, there must be sufficient material fact placed before the court by the applicant to enable it to exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously.

“The averments in the affidavit in support of the motion are about the applicant who has demonstrated sufficient interest to cloth him with a locus standi to bring the action.

“By section 34 (9) of the constitution, no person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a competent court.”

In his supporting affidavit deposed in support of his motion, Senator Kalu chronicled the historical background of the trial from his first arraignment and re-arraignment in 2016 and 2017, before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court after the initial charges were amended by the EFCC.

He further narrated how his application to quash the charges was not granted by both the trial court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Kalu told the court that following an application by the EFCC, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the charge was transferred to the Lagos division of the court and was assigned to Justice M.B. Idris now a Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Upon the transfer of the charge to Lagos, he bore the cost of movement of his entire legal team from Abuja to Lagos including the cost of accommodation up till judgment.

Senator Kalu disclosed that at the trial, the prosecution called a total of 19 witnesses and thereafter, closed it’s case, necessitating him together with other defendants to enter individually and respectively a no case submission.

He stated how midway through the trial, Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal as a Justice of the Court and subsequently took the oath of office and subscribed to the oath of Allegiance on June 22, 2018 and lost his position as a Judge of the Federal High Court.

The applicant also narrated how by a Fiat dated July 2, 2018, issued under the hand of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Idris was directed to return to the Federal High Court to conclude the trial, then part-heard in charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007, between FRN vs Orji Kalu and 2 others.

That in his judgment on December 5, 2019, Justice Idris convicted and sentenced him with respect to the extant charge.

Alleged ₦2.2bn Fraud: Court Grants Fayose’s Request To Travel Abroad For Treatment

File photo of ex-Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted permission to former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to travel abroad for further medical treatment.

It is not the first time the court is allowing Fayose to travel abroad for treatment. The court had granted a similar application in Dec 2020.

The present application dated February 5, 2021, was filed on behalf of the former governor by his counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and moved today in court by another defence counsel, Sunday Olowolafe.

Through the counsel, Fayose sought an order of the court granting him leave “to travel outside Nigeria for further medical examination, diagnosis, treatment and therapeutics, as an exigency of his health demands, on dates which shall not coincide with or obstruct any date of the trial in this case.”

He also sought an order that his international passport, which was deposited with the Registrar of the Court as part of the conditions for the bail granted should be released to him and returned to the court upon return from the trip.

READ ALSO: Ortom Alleges Threat To Life, Says Bala Mohammed Should Be Held Responsible’

The counsel said that Fayose had religiously complied with all the terms and conditions upon which bail was granted including depositing his International Passport with the Registrar of the Court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC did not oppose the application.

In granting the application, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke insisted that Fayose must be in court on the next adjourned dates of March 18 & 19 for the continuation of his trial.

Fayose is standing trial for alleged ₦2.2 billion fraud.

He was first arraigned on October 22, 2018, on 11 counts before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun.

He was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd.

Following a petition from the EFCC alleging bias on the part of the judge, the former governor was re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged, among other things, that Fayose, on June 17, 2014, “took possession of the sum of ₦1, 219, 000,000 to fund your 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State, which you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”

The former governor was also alleged to have on the same day “received a cash payment of $5,000,000 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the then Minister of State for Defence, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 1 and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”

The EFCC also alleged that Fayose purchased a property known as No.44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja for N200m in the name of “your elder sister, Mrs Moji Oladeji.”

But Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Ex-Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah In Court Over Alleged Financial Misappropriation

Stella Oduah (sitting on the front row) at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, February 22.

 

Former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah on Monday appeared at the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged financial impropriety.

The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is alleging that Oduah misappropriated public funds while serving as a minister.

In a 25-count preferred against the former minister and eight others, they are accused of fraud and diversion of funds through the operation of anonymous bank accounts.

The arraignment was however stalled again, on Monday, February 22.

At the resumed hearing, the prosecutor, Hassan Liman told the court that the EFCC has been unable to serve the charges on the fifth and sixth defendants.

The prosecutor, therefore, prayed for leave of the court to serve the defendants, which are corporate bodies, at their respective addresses.

READ ALSO: US, Reps Mourn Victims Of Military Plane Crash

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo then fixed April 19, 2021, for the arraignment.

Justice Inyang Ekwo had earlier fixed February 22 for the arraignment because the Former Minister was yet to be served with the court processes when the case was first mentioned on February 9, 2021.

Senator Oduah currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly.

Alleged Money Laundering: Abdulrasheed Maina Renews Application For Fresh Bail

Abdulrasheed Maina

 

A former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina has renewed his application for a fresh bail as he informed a Federal high court in Abuja that he needs the urgent attention of a medical practitioner.

At the resumed hearing of the application, counsel to Mister Maina prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on grounds of deteriorating health as he assures the court that his client has sworn an undertaking dismissing any likelihood of jumping bail.

In opposition to the bail application, Counsel to the EFCC argued that the application by the defendant on account of Ill health may afford him another opportunity to jump bail as he insists that the defendant’s condition is not life-threatening to warrant him been flown abroad for medical attention.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Lagos Judicial Panel Awards N10m Each To Two Victims Of Police Brutality

The Prosecutor argues that the defendant is entitled to a medical practitioner but cannot choose the medical facility to attend. He adds that the high blood pressure suffered by the defendant is a result of mismanagement on his part as he promised that the anti-graft will provide the defendant with a specialist.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, after listening to the parties adjourned the matter to the 24 and 25th of February, 202 for the hearing of the substantive motion and ruling.

Alleged N1.4bn Money Laundering: EFCC Closes Case Against Former NBA President, Paul Usoro

Mr Paul Usoro (file)

 

After taking the evidence of its second witness, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has closed its case at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in the alleged N1.4billion money laundering trial of a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, SAN.

The counsel to the EFCC, Uduak Kufre who asked Justice Rilwan Aikawa to discharge the witness also told the court that the commission was pleased with the evidence it had put forward in the case.

The EFCC had called Idongesit Udom, a deputy manager at Zenith Bank as it’s a first witness and Abdulrahman Arabo, the investigating officer as its second and final witness.

After discharging the witness and closing its case, the stage was set for the defendant to put in his defence but counsel to the former NBA President, Mr Effiong Effiong, SAN, has told the court of the defendant’s intention to file a ‘no case’ submission.

READ ALSO: EFCC Uncovers Internet Fraud Training Centre In Abuja

Justice Aikawa then adjourned till March 12, for the adoption of the no-case submission.

Paul Usoro was first arraigned for the alleged offence on December 18, 2018, before Justice Muslim Hassan of the same court.

On March 1, 2019, he was re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on a 10-count charge bordering on laundering money for the Akwa-Ibom State officials to the tune of N1.4bn.

One of the counts against the defendant reads: “That you, Paul Usoro, SAN, Emmanuel Udom (currently constitutionally immuned against criminal prosecution), Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko (still at large), Nsikan Linus Nkan, Commissioner of Finance, Akwa Ibom State (still at large), Mfon Jacobson Udomah, Accountant-General, Akwa Ibom State (still at large) and Margaret Thompson Ukpe (still at large), sometime in 2015 in Nigeria, conspired to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of N1,410,000,000,000 property of the Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.”

The EFCC claimed that they reasonably ought to have known the money was “part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Paul Usoro pleaded not guilty.

An investigating officer with the EFCC, Abdulrahman Arabo, told the court that the government hired the immediate-past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), who, in turn, invited other SANs to join him, at the election tribunal where Gov Udom’s victory was being challenged in 2015.

The EFFC witness also testified that the sum of N1.4bn legal fee paid to the SANs was drawn from the treasury of the Akwa Ibom State’s account.

Of this amount, the sum of N55m was allegedly paid by Usoro as kick-back, into the account of Akwa Ibom State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Uwemedimo Nwoko.

EFCC Uncovers Internet Fraud Training Centre In Abuja

 

Operatives of the Abuja Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Have uncovered yet another underworld ‘academy’ for the grooming of internet fraudsters.

The ‘academy’ located in the Arab Contractors Area of Mpape Hills, a suburb of Abuja, was discovered when operatives, acting on intelligence, stormed the base on Thursday, February 18, and arrested 27 internet fraud suspects.

READ ALSO: Two Internet Fraudsters Jailed In Ogun

The coordinator of the ‘academy’ is said to be 30-year-old Emmanuel Clement, and his students are mostly young school leavers, ladies inclusive, within the age range of 18 to 25 years.

Items recovered from the suspects include a Toyota Venza car, 30 mobile phones, and one laptop.

They will be charged to court as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Wednesday Update: A Peace Tour, New EFCC Boss And Rising Inflation

Good morning.

We are covering a peace tour by Northern Governors, the appointment of a new EFCC boss, and the underlying factors driving inflation in Nigeria.


Four Northern Governors met with Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on February 15, 2021.

Northern Governors Continue Southwest Tour

The four Northern Governors – Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Abubakar Bello (Niger) – who were in Oyo State on Monday attended a farmer-herders stakeholder meeting in Ogun State on Tuesday.

The Governors are seeking ways to douse tensions between the country’s South and North.

“We have to take some drastic measures,” Governor Ganduje said at the meeting, which was also attended by Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun. “Otherwise we are just scratching the problem on the back.”

Traditional and religious rulers from Ogun and Ondo States, representatives of farmers and herders, as well as heads of security operatives in Ogun State attended the meeting.

Context: Tensions have escalated between farmers and cattle herders in the South recently. Many Southerners believe herders, mostly from the North, have taken control of forests, farmlands and are involved in violent crimes such as kidnapping and rape. But the herders say they are also victims of an increasingly volatile security environment.

Simon Lalong: The Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, after a security meeting in Kaduna, said the North is seeking “matured ways” to resolve the issue.

Femi Gbajabiamila: The House of Representatives Speaker has asked people with large followership to be more circumspect about the information they share and the language used in sharing it.

Related: The Senate is seeking to pass legislation that will impose stiffer punishments for the illegal possession of firearms in the country.


A file photo of the new EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

The EFCC Gets a New General

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday publicly nominated 40-Year-Old Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The nomination appeared to put a nail to the hopes of ex-EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu of being recalled. Mr. Magu was suspended in July 2020 over allegations of gross misconduct.

His lawyer, Tosin Ajaomo, told Channels Television that Mr. Bawa’s appointment came as a shock.

What Next: Mr. Bawa, who joined the EFCC in 2004, is expected to scale through a Senate confirmation, a feat Mr. Magu couldn’t achieve. Meanwhile, Mr. Magu’s fate remains uncertain.

Clarification: The EFCC, in a statement on Tuesday, said Mr. Bawa has no corruption record.


A file photo of a resident at a market in Akure, Ondo State. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun
A file photo of a resident at a market in Akure, Ondo State. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun

Inflation Goes Through The Roof

The National Bureau of Statistics said the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, stood at 16.47% in January, from 15.75% in December.

The January figure is the highest since April 2017.

But Bolanle Agbaje, a research analyst at Financial Derivatives Company is positive the figure could start to decline in the coming months.

“Month-on-month inflation has declined, which is good news in the sense that inflation is moving to a point where it would reach a particular peak and most likely start coming down,” she said.

Meanwhile, food inflation crossed the 20% mark and stood at 20.57% in January from 19.56% in December.

According to Ms. Agbaje, the farmer-herders conflict was a likely contributor to the rising prices of food.

Core Inflation stood at 11.85% in January, from 11.37% in December.

Bitcoin: The cryptocurrency hit new highs on Tuesday as institutional investors catch the FOMO fever.


What else is happening?

Foreign Affairs: President Muhammadu Buhari has inducted 94 new ambassadors and charged them to go out and serve Nigeria with utmost dedication and pride.

Zamfara Explosion: Seven teenagers were feared dead after they picked up an explosive device during their search for firewood in the bush, the State Government said on Tuesday.

PDP: Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said Goodluck Jonathan will not defect from the party. Saraki, along with other members of the PDP Reconciliation Committee, met with the former President at his Maitama residence in Abuja on Tuesday.

Lekki Toll Gate: Some rehabilitation work has begun at the site, days after a protest against its reopening was quashed by the Nigerian police.

IGP: A Federal High Court in Abuja has declined to grant an interim injunction that would restrain Mr. Mohammed Adamu from parading himself as the Inspector-General of Police.

The court said that such an injunction can only be considered after the suit challenging the elongation of the IGP’s tenure by President Muhammadu Buhari has been settled.

NIN: The Federal Government has already shifted the deadline for registration twice. But it might have to do so again as Nigerians continue to contend with the limitations of the exercise.

NCDC: Nigeria recorded 1,368 new cases of the coronavirus and 16 deaths on Tuesday, according to the disease control agency.


And that’s it for this briefing. Join me tomorrow.

P.S. Remember Obinwanne Okeke? He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a US court for wire fraud,

 

Two Internet Fraudsters Jailed In Ogun

A file photo of the EFCC logo.

 

A Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State, presided over by Justice Mohammed Abubakar on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, convicted and sentenced two internet fraudsters, Ridwan Lekan Garuba and Agbabiaka Idris Adebayo to five months and four months in prison respectively.

The convicts had pleaded guilty to the separate one-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office.

The charges border on fraud and impersonation.

The charge against Garuba reads: “That you Ridwan Lekan Garuba(a.k.a. Jefferson Godwin) sometime in 2020, at Abeokuta, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, impersonated one Jefferson Godwin, a citizen of the United States of America, by which you obtained benefits and gained an advantage from one Ruth Hodges Dennis, a female citizen of the United States of America, a pretext which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(iv)of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015”.

READ ALSO: Two Killed, Seven Children Injured In Kaduna

The charge against Agbabiaka read, “That you, Agbabiaka Idris Adebayo ‘m’ ( a.k.a Melissa Brookrose) sometime between 2018 and 2020 at Sango Ota, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, impersonated one Charles Stewart, a citizen of the United States of America, by which you obtained benefits and gained an advantage from one Christiana, a female citizen of the United States of America, a pretext which you know to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i)of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(iv) of the same Act”.

The EFCC counsel in the respective case, Shamsuddeen Bashir urged the court to convict the duo accordingly.

Justice Abubakar consequently convicted and sentenced Garuba to five months in prison with effect from the date of his arrest, while Agbaiaka bagged four months in prison also with effect from the date of his arrest.

Garuba who has already refunded the sum of $1,000 USD (One thousand United States of America Dollars) to his victim through the Federal government of Nigeria, also forfeits his Samsung S9 mobile phone, Samsung S6 mobile phone, one MIFI and one Nokia phone.

Agbaiaka also forfeits his iPhone mobile phone to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being part of the benefit he derived from his fraudulent act.