Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, convicted and sentenced seven internet fraudsters to various jail terms.

The convicts are Ayokunle Victor, Enoferodion Kingsley Osadebamwen, Endurance Igbineweka, Ale Emmanuel Mayowa, Ojo Wonder Toluwani, Okolie Kelechi Kingsley and Olaleye Joshua Ayomide.

They were jailed after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge bordering on obtaining by false pretences when they were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC.

The charge against Osadebamwen reads: “that you Kingsley Enoferodion Osadebamwen (m) on or about 10th day of February 2024 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did have in your possession documents which you knew or ought to have known contain a false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.2006 and punishable under Section 1(3)of same Act.

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them. Based on their pleas, prosecution counsels, F.A. Jirbo and Salihu Ahmed prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as they have become remorseful for their actions.

Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced the trio of Ayomide, Mayowa and Victor to three years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each. The duo of Igbineweka and Osadebamwen bagged three years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) each. The judge also convicted and sentenced Kingsley to two years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 while Toluwani was sentenced to community service.

The judge ordered that the defendants forfeit their phones, balances in their various bank accounts and one black Mercedes Benz GLK 2010 model recovered from Osadebamwen being proceeds and instruments of crime to the Federal Government of Nigeria. All the convicts are to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour afterwards.

The convicts’ road to the Correctional Center began following their arrest by operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission based on actionable intelligence regarding their involvement in fraudulent activities. After thorough investigations, they were arraigned on a one-count separate charge of personation and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents.