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Edo State High Court Sentences 19 Internet Fraudsters To Prison, Convicts Forfeit Cars To EFCC

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Nineteen internet fraudsters have been convicted and sentenced to prison for fraud by Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission disclosed this via its Twitter handle, @officialEFCC, on Wednesday.

The convicts are Fidelis Esajini, Nicholas Azeke, Marvelous Alakpa, Adelike Destiny, Osamwingie Osarenwinda, Mathias Gbenga; Collins Iyekeoretin, Anyanwu Miracle, Justice Aifo, Emmanuel Efetobor.

Others are Osahenie Uwoghiren, Emmanuel Osifo, Timothy Nowamagbe, Desmond Taiwo, Atunu Ewomaoghene, Elvis Onojebe, Promise Uduaghan, Francis Okoliko and Omokaro Omonefe.

They were arraigned separately on a one-count charge bordering on retention of proceeds of crime, fraudulent representation and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The charge against Collins read, “That you, Collins, sometime between January 23, 2018, and May 26, 2023, in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this court did retain the control of the aggregate sum of N303,304,519 in your bank account on behalf of Osawonyi Ella, knowing that same represents the proceeds of the criminal conduct of the said Osawonyi Ella and others and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under Section 17(b) of the same Act.”

The charge against Fidelis read, “That you, Fidelis, sometime in May 2023 within the jurisdiction of this court, did with intent to defraud, present yourself to be one Lisa, a citizen of the United States of America and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.”

Upon arraignment, all the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges prompting the prosecution counsel, F.A. Jirbo, I.M Elodi, Saliu Ahmed, A.A. Ibrahim and AS Balariba to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

However, counsel for the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders who had turned a new leaf.

The statement read, “Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Esajini, Destiny, Osarenwinda, Gbenga, Iyekeoretin, Nowamagbe, Ewomaoghene and Okoliko to three years imprisonment with an option of N200,000 as fine.

“Azeke, Miracle, Aifo, Efetobor, Uwoghiren and Osifo were sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 each.

“Alakpa bagged three years imprisonment or a fine of N300,000 while Taiwo bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000.”

Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced Promise Uduaghan, Elvis Onojebe and Omokaro Omonefe to three years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000.

The court also ordered that six vehicles – Lexus ES350, Black Mercedes ML350, Mercedes Benz C-30 model, Mercedes Benz ML 350, Lexus NX, Toyota Corolla- iPad, laptops, phones and the balance in the defendants’ bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government through the EFCC.

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UNN Suspends, Probes Lecturer For ‘Attempting To Sexually Assault’ Student

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A lecturer known as Mfonobong Udoudom has been suspended by the University of Nigeria (UNN) for what it called an “inappropriate affair” with a student.

Viral videos surfaced on Tuesday showing the senior lecturer of general studies pacing around his office in his pants, looking visibly alarmed.

Sources at the university said that the lecturer was “caught pants down attempting to have sex with a married female student of the school.”

According to the sources, Udoudom had a long-standing custom of “passing female students only after sleeping with them.”

He was accused of forcing a female student to understand that she would fail his course unless she agreed to have sex with him.

One of the sources, under anonymity, said the female student planned with her husband to entrap the lecturer while working with UNN security and other students.

The student source further said the security agents forcefully broke into his office and caught the lecturer “in action.”.

“It was planned out with her husband and security agents at the school. The female was made to approach the lecturer to offer him money in order to scale through his course. He refused and insisted he needed to have sexual intercourse with her in his office,” the source said.

“When the lady succumbed to his demands and asked him to undress, he was caught wearing only boxers.”

In the now-viral footage, a witness is heard saying, “We have been following this case from day one. We have all the chats, voice notes, video calls, and every conversation he had with the female student.”.

When contacted, UNN management told TheCable that Udoudom has now been suspended.

Okwun Omeaku, UNN’s acting media spokesperson, said the senior lecturer will be made to face the staff disciplinary panel.

“The indefinite suspension is with immediate effect pending the outcome of a disciplinary panel constituted by the university to investigate the incident,” he said.

“UNN has a zero tolerance for sexual misconduct involving our staff and students.

“We are committed to protecting our students from any form of abuse and exploitation. The university management will not hesitate to punish Mr. Mfonobong David Udoudom according to our rules if he is found guilty.”

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Yahaya Bello Took $720k From State Treasury To Pay His Child’s School Fees — EFCC Chairman Olukoyede

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Ola Olukoyede, claims that Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi, took out $720,000 to cover his child’s upfront school fees.

Olukoyede made this known in Abuja on Tuesday during an interactive session with media executives.

The head of EFCC claimed that the former governor of Kogi transferred funds to a bureau de change operator and utilised them to pay his child’s school fees ahead of time.

Olukoyede added that Bello made the payment in anticipation that his tenure was gradually coming to an end.

“A sitting governor, because he knew he was leaving office, moved money directly from the government to bureau de change and used it to pay his child’s school fee in advance,” the EFCC boss said.

“Over $720,000 in anticipation that he was going to leave the government house. In a poor state like Kogi, you want me to close my eyes under the guise of ‘I’m being used’. Used by who? At this stage of my life.”

Olukoyede said he inherited the case file of the former Kogi governor, noting that he did not initiate the investigation against Bello.

On April 17, EFCC operatives laid siege on Bello’s residence in Abuja to arrest him over alleged N80 billion fraud.

While the EFCC operatives were at Bello’s residence, Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi, came to visit his predecessor.

Shortly after Ododo departed from the residence, the EFCC operatives also left the house.

Bello was reportedly rescued by Ododo when he departed his residence located in the Wuse Zone 4 district of Abuja.

Subsequently, the anti-graft agency declared the former governor wanted.

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has also placed Bello on a watchlist.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Bello, alongside Alli Bello, chief of staff to Ododo; and one Daudu Suleiman, diverted about N80.2 billion belonging to the Kogi government.

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I’ll Tender Resignation If Yahaya Bello Is Not Prosecuted — EFCC Chairman Olukoyede

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The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has threatened to resign if he does not bring Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi State, to justice.

Olukoyede gave a speech in Abuja on Tuesday during an engaging conversation with media executives.

“If I do not personally oversee the completion of the investigation regarding Yahaya Bello, I will tender my resignation as the EFCC chair,” he said.

The EFCC boss also vowed that everyone involved in obstructing Bello’s arrest from his Abuja residence will face the full wrath of the law.

He also said he invited Bello to his office for a more respectful and dignified interrogation, but that the ex-governor wanted EFCC operatives to grill him in his village instead.

“I called Yahaya Bello, as a serving governor, to come to my office to clear himself. I shouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“But he said that because a certain senator has planted over 100 journalists in my office, he would not come.

“I told him that he would be allowed to use my private gate to give him a cover, but he said my men should come to his village to interrogate him.”

Olukoyede said the EFCC did not violate any law while trying to arrest the former governor from his residence.

“Rather, we have obeyed the law. I inherited the case and I didn’t create it. Why has he not submitted himself to the law?” he asked.

“I have arraigned two past governors who have been granted bail now—WWillie Obiano and Abdulfatah Ahmed.

“We would have gone after Bello since January but we waited for the court order.

“As early as 7 am, my gallant men were there. Over 50 of them. They mounted surveillance.

“We met over 30 armed policemen there. We would have exchanged fire and there would have been casualties.

“My men were about to move in when the governor of Kogi drove in and they later changed the narrative.”

He vowed that all those who have dipped their hands into the public till would be investigated and prosecuted.

“If I can do Obiano, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Chief Olu Agunloye, my kinsman, why not Yahaya Bello?” Olukoyede said.

The EFCC is prosecuting Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

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