Sunday, 6 October 2019

Cybercrime Convict Gets Liberal Jail Term After Guilty-Plea On Charges : Olusegun Ariyo





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Following A guilty plea on charges brought before One Raphael Onwugbolu by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over cybercrime, he was eventually given a lighter sentence of two-year jail term. 

The conviction followed his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission after going through some sort of plea-bargain which eventually gave a lighter sentence from justice Taiwo Taiwo of the federal high court situated in Abuja on a two-count bordering on cybercrime


“That you, Raphael Ifedora Onwugbolu (a.k.a Jeffrey Hanks) sometime in 2006 at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, fraudulently impersonated one Jeffrey Hanks, an American medical doctor based in South Africa, with intent to obtain property to wit: the sum of $5,000 (Five Thousand United States Dollars) from one Maria Sandas, an American resident, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Act.”

He pleaded guilty to all the charges, following his 'guilty plea', the prosecuting counsel, Olanrewaju Adeola, informed the court of a plea bargain agreement entered with the defence team and urged the court to adopt the same and sentence the defendant based on the terms of the agreement.

In his response, defence counsel, Adaji Abel pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the defendant has become a changed person since 2006 when the offence was committed.

The statement put further that justice Taiwo agreed and adopted the terms of the plea bargain and convicted him accordingly.

 It held that: “I am mindful of these types of crime in our society, which is giving our country a bad image all over the world.

"However, in view of the plea bargain agreement, the defendant is hereby sentenced to two years in prison, but with an option of fine of N1million to be paid to the account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the office of the EFCC."

Meanwhile, the commission had also arraign a fake fund manger over four million fraud before justice Obile of the federal high court sitting in rivers state.

The statement put further that the act is contrary to section 8 (a) of the advance fee fraud and other related offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same act.

It said the offence bordered on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.

"That you Jonah Ekpone Chijor, Fragracons Limited sometimes between September 2014 and September 2015 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of the honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony obtaining by false pretence and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act."

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

 prosecuting counsel, C. Okorie prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
Meanwhile, counsel to the defendant, C. Iyieke informed the court of a pending application for bail for the defendant.

Justice Obile granted the defendant bail in the sum of N2,000,000.00( Two Million Naira Only) and one surety in like sum.

The Court said the defendant and the surety should deposit two recent passport photographs with the court.

“The surety should be a community member of the defendant and the residential address of the surety should be verified by the police”.

Justice Obile also ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail term while the matter was adjourned to November 28, 2019, for the commencement of trial.

Trouble, however, ensued when a petitioner alleged a case of criminal breach of trust against the defendant.

The petitioner alleged that he invested a total sum of N4,000, 000.00( Four Million Naira only) with the defendant who claimed to be a fund/portfolio manager.
“The petitioner further said that the money he invested was for a period of six months at 15% interest rate”.

“That at the maturity, he requested for both the capital and interest but the defendant failed to refund his money and all efforts to get the money back proved abortive”.

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