Kennedy Irabor Osasogie, 21, internet fraudster and seven others were on Thursday, August 3, 2023 convicted and sentenced to prison by Justice M.Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City.
The others are Emmanuel Kayode Luma, Oneh Endurance, Yadina Chukwudi, Amalawa Kingsley, Lucky Junior Atailegbe, Aikorogie Osarenmwinda and Kelvin Amenze.
Osasogie was arrested following a petition by Antje Kdla, a German citizen, who alleged that the defendant defrauded her of huge sums of money. Investigations by operatives of the Commission found the defendant culpable of the offence. The seven other defendants were arrested following intelligence on their nefarious activities.
They were subsequently arraigned on separate one count charges bordering on retention of proceeds of illegal activities and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, F.A.Jirbo, IK Agwai, Al-Amin.A.Ibrahim and Ibrahim Faisal to ask the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
The defence counsel, however, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders who had become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced Osasogie to three years imprisonment with an option of Three Hundred Thousand Naira as fine.
Luma , Oneh, Chukwudi, Kingsley were each sentenced to three years imprisonment with the option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine, while Osawerinde and Amenze were sent to two years imprisonment or a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira. Otailegbe was sentenced to one month imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine.
The judge ruled that Osasogie forfeits the sum of €7,040 recovered from him during investigation to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC for onward delivery to the nominal complainant, Antje KDLA through the German Embassy in Nigeria.
Justice Itsueli further ordered that one Toyota Highlander, one black Toyota Venza and the balance in the convicts’ Nigerian bank accounts, phones and laptops being proceeds of crime be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The charge against Osasogie reads: “that you Kennedy Irabor Osasogie sometime between 8th August, 2022 and 16th September, 2022 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession or use the aggregate sum of N5,988.480.00 only transferred into your bank account number: 2391912926 domiciled in Zenith bank by the trio of Irabor Clifford, Bawa Agbomer Anthony and Endurance Nosakhare who acted as your pickers, knowing that money represent proceeds of your criminal conduct to wit: Cybercrime and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under section 17(b) of same Act”.