Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on Tuesday, convicted and sentenced nine internet fraudsters to jail.
The convicts are Onwudiegwu Kingsley, Ezerhume Jude Osomieneshi, Alasah Ismail, Enagbere Joseph Ewaen, and Eferetin Miracle. Others are Gift Unuajefe, Epama Omonkhodion Francis, Esegbue Stephen, and Oghenekohwo Maro Great.
They were arraigned on separate one-count charges bordering on fraudulent representation and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The charge against Ismail reads: “that you, Alasah Ismail on or about 9th March 2023 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did have in your possession on your iPhone 11 with iMEI: 353985106807105 documents which you knew or ought to have known contained false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 and 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Acts, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Faisal and A.A. Ibrahim, to ask the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders who have become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Francis, Unuajefe, Miracle, Ewaen, Ismail, Jude, and Onwudegwu to three years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira as fine.
Stephen bagged two years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira as fine while Great was jailed three years with an option of One Hundred Thousand Naira fine.
In addition, the convicts are to forfeit their phones, which are instruments of crime, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.