The Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has secured the conviction of 10 internet fraudsters, popularly known as ‘Yaboo Boys’, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State.

The convicts, according to the EFCC statement, include Isaac Uchenna Akuma, Praise Lucky Moses, Joel Akanimo, Afia Emediong Godwin, Archibong Unyime Inyang, Kelechi Richard Udochi, Prince Edet Okon, Promise Benedict Okon, Victor Eze and Emmanuel Imoh Archibong.

They were all arraigned on separate two-count charges except Archibong who was arraigned on a one-count charge bordering on fraudulent impersonation and obtaining by false pretence.

One of the charges reads: “That you, Joel Akanimoh ‘M’ sometime in 2023 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession and control of $1200 (One Thousand, Two Hundred United States Dollars) intentionally, knowing that the money formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit; obtaining money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.”

They all pleaded guilty when the charges were read to them separately. In view of their pleas, prosecutors, S. S. Aribido and J. E. I. Ogbuli, prayed to the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

However, defence counsel, E. E. Osim, Koko Essien, Udeme Tom and S. E. Omenyi, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing their clients who, according to them, “are first-time offenders”.

Justice Ojukwu, after listening to both sides, convicted and sentenced nine of the defendants to six months imprisonment each, with an option of N1,000,000 fine, except Archibong who was sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of fine of N500,000 fine. Having spent more than the term in prison custody, Archibong was released by the court.

The court further ordered that the convicts restitute as follows: Akuma to restitute the sum of $205 to his victim, Moses $1000 to his victims; Akanimo $1200 to his victims; Godwin $200 to his victims; Inyang $100 to his victim; Udochi N230,000.00 to his victims and Okon the sum of N820,000.00 to his victims. Others are, Promise who was ordered to restitute $1500 Canadian dollars or its equivalent in Naira to his victims and Eze sum of $800 to his victims.

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Meanwhile, operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC said they have arrested 44 suspected internet fraudsters in Benin City.

The suspects were arrested in different locations following actionable intelligence on their alleged internet fraud-related activities.

According to the EFCC statement, 33 of the suspects were found to have questions to answer after being profiled. They are Emmanuel Jimmy, Wisdom Osazuwa, Emmanuel Osaretin, Destiny Nonso, Michael Ekeh, Uzoma Okoligwe, Emmanuel Ebushi, Oyegun Osadebamwen, Christain Amhazioya, Azegbeyele Francis, Osarobo Junior, Anyanwu Miracle, and Louis Osahenie.

Others are Ezerhume Jude Osomieneshi, Happy Daniel and Maro Oghenekohwo. Others are Kelvin Ifeanyi Anere, Igwe Favour, Gabriel Okpolor, Ogbeifun Prince, Timothy Nawamgbe, Onakofure Augustine, Osakpamwen Gaius, Nonso Prince Onuoha, Emmanuel Efetobor, Emmanuel Usifoh, Endurance Azeke, Ojo Destiny, Justice Aifo, Collins Etiosa Ihkuoretin, Victor Ohenhen Ikponmuosa, Godspower Oghenekohwo and Amos Onakpofure.

Items recovered from the suspects include 25 exotic cars – three Lexus EX350, six Lexus RX330, five Mercedes Benz ML 350, one Toyota Camry, one Lexus IS250, four Mercedes Benz C300, One Toyota Venza, one Toyota Highlander, two Toyota Corolla, mobile phones and laptops.

The Commission noted that suspects have made useful statements and will be charged to court soon.