Two suspected Internet fraudsters – Ukhuriegbe Irekpitan and Onyekwa Chinedum – have been arraigned for the alleged impersonation of Nigerian-British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua.
The duo was arraigned on Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice S. M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State on a two-count charge each of impersonation.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, spokesman for the anti-graft agency Wilson Uwujaren said each of the defendants faces two counts.
The defendants were accused of allegedly sending electronic messages to two ladies and defrauding them of the sums of £10,000 and £5,491,23 respectively in London, the capital of England sometime in 2019.
Their offences are said to be punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.
One of the charges against one of Joshua’s alleged impostors reads, “that you Onyekwe Joshua Chinedum (a.k.a Anthony Joshua) sometime in 2019 did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Samantha Johnson, a lady in London which messages she relied upon and which made her suffer financial loss in the sum of £10,000 thereby committing an offence punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”
One of the charges against Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan reads: “That you Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan sometime in 2018 did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Mrs Zahra Bagun, a lady in London which messages she relied on and which caused her to suffer the financial loss in the sum of £5,491.23 pounds, the equivalent of N2,306,220 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
On his part, the prosecution counsel, I.M. Elody, asked for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in the custody of the Correctional Service.
The counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to remand them in EFCC custody, a move that was opposed by the EFCC counsel.
Justice Shuaibu thereafter adjourned the matter till October 21 and ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Benin City.