Five internet fraudsters sentenced to jail in Benin
An Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City has sentenced five internet fraudsters to prison.
Bright Obaro, Christopher Lawani Igbinosa, Osagie Hope Godstime, Divine Uche and Osagie Junior were on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, convicted and sentenced to prison by Justices Efe Ikponmwonba and M Itsueli of Edo State High Court.
They were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Command of the Commission on separate one count charges bordering on fraudulent impersonation, retention of proceeds of crime, intent to defraud and possession of fraudulent documents.
The charge against Osagie Junior reads, “That you, Osagie Junior (m) sometimes between 2020 to 2022 in Benin, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession of the sum of N21,723,755.59 (Twenty One Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Five Naira, Fifty Nine kobo) knowing that same represent proceeds of your criminal conduct to wit: cybercrime and thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 17(b) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004”.
Upon arraignment the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, K.Y. Bello, I. K. Agwai, Al-amin A. Ibrahim and Ibrahim Falsal 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 they were first time offenders who had become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Obaro, Godstime and Junior to three years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine, while Igbinosa bagged three years imprisonment or a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira.
Uche was also sentenced to two years imprisonment or a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira.
Justice Ikponwonba also ruled that the balance of N25,786.15 domiciled in Sterling Bank belonging to Osagie Junior and phones recovered from the defendants be forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.
All the defendants are to sign an undertaking, pledging to be of good behaviour.