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Lagos: Man bags one-year jail term, 80 hours community service for N16.7m fraud

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
18 August 2022   |   4:07 am
Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, sentenced a man, Anthony Chukwuemeka to one-year imprisonment and 80 hours of community service for N16.7m fraud.

Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, sentenced a man, Anthony Chukwuemeka to one-year imprisonment and 80 hours of community service for N16.7m fraud.

  
The judge convicted Chukwuemeka and sentenced him after he pleaded guilty to an amended one-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
 
He was charged for receiving N16.7 million from a fraudulent source and collecting money from fraudsters on percentage. His offence was contrary and punishable under Section 331 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
   
At the resumed hearing of the matter, yesterday, the EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Godson Akaogu, prayed the court to allow the convict to take his plea again on a new charge dated March 28, 2022.
 
Following his guilty plea after his re-arraignment, the prosecutor, who reviewed the facts of the case, told the court that Chukwuemeka received the sum of N16,7m being proceeds of criminal conduct on behalf of one Mr. lloh and others at large.
   
He further told the court that the convict was arrested on July 8, 2021 in Ajah area of Lagos based on credible intelligence that he was into internet fraud.
   
The prosecutor further told court that the convict was subsequently brought to the EFCC’s Lagos office, where mobile devices found on him were forensically analysed by the cyber crime department and his statement taken.
  
According to him, “fraudulent documents were printed out from his phone, which gave a clue to the nature of his illegal activities, which is specifically as a picker, who receives money from such internet fraud on behalf of fraudsters for a percentage.
 
“The defendant confessed under interrogation that he got N1,6,700,000 in four different transactions through crypto traders from Mr. Iloh, currently at large.”
 
The anti-graft counsel also told the court that aside from the four phones, a Mercedes Benz C300 2016 model was also recovered from him, all of which he admitted were proceeds of his illegal activities. Akaogu therefore tendered the statement of the defendant, and the four mobile phones recovered from him.
 
The court admitted all as exhibits, as well as the two draft cheques of N1million each paid into EFCC funds recovery account.
  
Justice Abike-Fadipe, before sentencing the convict, asked him whether he was tortured to plead guilty as there was no agreement between him and the EFCC.
   
The judge, however, found him guilty as charged, after the defendant affirmed that he pleaded guilty on his own volition. Chukwuemeka told the court that he has changed his ways after he was arrested.
 
The convict therefore pleaded with the court for mercy, promising to go back to his Plaster of Paris (POP) job and not to go back to fraudulent activities.
 
After listening to his plea, the judge sentenced him to one-year imprisonment with an option of N1million fine and 80 hours of community service.
 
The court also ordered that the items recovered from him should be forfeited to the Federal Government.