Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court, Benin City on Tuesday convicted and sentenced four internet fraudsters to prison for fraud.
They are Raymond Oghosa Ogiemwonyi, Chata Okoro, Osagie Ogiemwonyi and Chukwudi Uwadia. They were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC on separate one count charges of retention of proceeds of crime and personation.
The charge against Ogiemwonyi reads: “that you Raymond Oghosa Ogiemwonyi sometime between May, 2022 to 13th October, 2022 in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession of the total sum of Eight Million, Two Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Seventy-six Naira Eighty-eight Kobo (N8,217,076.88) knowing that same represents proceeds of Clinton Nosakhare’s ( your chairman) criminal conduct to wit; Cybercrime and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 17 (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment ) Act 2004.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charge.
In view of their plea, prosecution counsel, K.U. Udus and I.K. Agwa prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. However, the defence counsel, Chris Otasome pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders and have become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Oghosa Ogiemwonyi, Osagie Ogiemwonyi, Chata Okoro to three years in prison with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira each while Chukwudi Uwadia bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira only
The convicts are to forfeit a Lexus RS350, 2010 model car, the balance of Nine Thousand One Hundred and Seven Naira Fifty- one Kobo (N9,107.51) found in Raymond Oghosa Ogiemwonyi’s Access bank account; one Laptop and phones being proceeds of crime to the Federal government of Nigeria.
In a similar development, the Benin Zonal. Command on December 6, 2022 arraigned one Victor Omeni Njoku on a count charge of possession of proceeds of crime before Justice Ikponmwonba.
The charge against him reads: “that you, Victor Omeni Njoku (M) (trading under the name and style of Adon projects NIG) on or about 16th December 2021 in Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did have in your possession the sum of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) in your bank account number 5600175843 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc , transferred from United Bank for Africa bank account of Aigboboh Sylvester knowing that same represent proceeds of .Mrs Margaret Nwabueze’s criminal conduct to wit; obtaining by false pretense and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 17(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( Establishment) Act 2004”.
Upon arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the charge prompting the prosecution counsel, I.K. Agwai to pray the court to remand the defendant at the Correctional Centre and fix a date for trial .However counsel to the defendant pleaded with the court to grant his client bail as the alleged offence was a bailable.
Justice Ikponmwonba granted the defendant bail in the sum of one million naira with a surety in like sum. The surety must be gainfully employed and shall be verified by both the court registrar and the EFCC.
The case was adjourned till January 10, 2023 for hearing.