Judge Upturns Plea Bargain, Jails Corps Member for Defrauding American in Romance Scam


    Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday sentenced a member of the National Youth Service Corps, Ajayi Ayokunle, to two months’ imprisonment for fraud.

    The 30-year-old was said to have impersonated one Dr. Joshua to defraud an American, identified only as Maria, of $1,000.

    According to the court, the convict will, in addition to the imprisonment, forfeit to the Federal Government a cash sum of $500 found in his bank account and a “sophisticated Android telephone.”

    Justice Ekwo, who expressed disgust at the embarrassing rate of cybercrime among the youth, turned down the plea bargain entered by the convict with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission wherein he confessed to committing the crime and requested fine options.

    During his arraignment on Tuesday, counsel for the EFCC, Dichi Umar, drew the attention of Justice Ekwo to the plea bargain and urged him to convict the defendant with the option of a fine.

    The EFCC counsel said the defendant had, by the plea bargain, agreed to forfeit the $500 in his bank account and the phone used to commit the crime.

    However, Justice Ekwo, who was not comfortable with the terms of the plea bargain, subjected the convict to questioning while he was in the dock.

    Ayokunle told the judge that he studied Political Science in a Nigerian university and was undergoing his one-year service with the NYSC.

    Justice Ekwo said the issue of fines would not happen in his court in order to serve as a deterrent to other criminally-minded youths.

    The judge subsequently ordered him to remain in prison for two months beginning from Tuesday, November 23.

    The Punch

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