The Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has secured the conviction of members of a notorious syndicate of fraudsters comprising a Nigerien, Magaji Musa (a.k.a Maishayi) and five Nigerians: Salisu Rabiu, (a.k.a Mai Magani); Ibrahim Idris, (a.k.a Dankano); Haruna Abdullahi,(a.k.a Balogun), Haruna Usman (a.k.a Maiturare) and Abubakar Umar (a.k.a Fulani), to fourteen years imprisonment before Justice M.S. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court Kaduna.
The convicts were prosecuted on four counts of conspiracy, attempt to obtain money by false pretence and possession of counterfeit currencies, contrary to Section 8A, 1A, 8B of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and Section 1(3) of the same Act.
They allegedly tricked a victim to claim boxes containing huge sums of money (in United States Dollars) belonging to a certain politician and kept with some herdsmen in the bush.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting the stage for their full trail. In the course of trail, the prosecution called witnesses and presented several documents that were admitted in evidence.
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, March 24, 2021Justice Shuaibu convicted all six defendants on the count of conspiracy and attempt to commit offence, and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment.
The 4th defendant, Haruna Abdullahi (a.k.a Balogun) was sentenced to another seven years imprisonment on the count that relates to possession of fake currencies
The 2nd, 4th and 5th defendants bagged another 7 years on count three without an option of fine.
All sentences are to run concurrently
The 1st defendant, Salisu Rabiu (a.k.a Maimagani) is to restitute the nominal complainant the sum of N 1,075,000 (one million seven seventy five thousand naira only).
In a related development, Justice E. A. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced Uzoma Franklyn Izuchukwu to two years imprisonment for impersonating an American, Jefferson Stewart, to dupe his unsuspecting victims.
He was jailed on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 after pleading ” guilty” to one- count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining money by false pretence, contrary to Section 22(3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(4)of the same Act.
The charge reads: “That you Uzoma Franklyn Izuchukwu (a.k.a Jefferson Stewart) sometimes between 2019, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonate one Jefferson Stewart with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 22(3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under section 22(4)of the same Act”.
In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, N. A. Dodo, prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly. However, defence counsel, M. M. Suleiman sued for mercy, explaining that “Izuchukwu is a first -time offender and has no previous criminal records”
Justice Obile convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment in a Correctional Service with an option of fine of Five Hundred Thousand Naira only (N500, 000). He ordered that the phone and laptop linked with the crime be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Izuchukwu’s journey to the Correctional Service started when some verified intelligence of the EFCC spotted him for internet- related activities. Investigations showed that the Imo- State born convict was using the identity of an American, Jefferson Steward to defraud his victims. One of his victim, Dianne Avinna lost huge amount of money to him.