In a verdict delivered on Tuesday, 29th August 2024, a 25-year-old barber, Ogudu Matthew, and his associate Ajayi Osamuyi, were found guilty and subsequently sentenced to incarceration by Justice M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court situated in Benin City, Edo State. The conviction stemmed from their involvement in internet fraud.
The pair faced a single-count charge of impersonation and fraudulent pretence, as presented by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ogudu and Osamuyi’s journey to prison was initiated following their apprehension, prompted by intelligence connecting them to online fraudulent activities. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Osamuyi had assumed the identity of Huang Dingxiang, a Chinese national, to deceive unsuspecting victims and orchestrate fraudulent schemes.
The charge against Ogudu stated: “That you, Ogudu Matthew Orukpe (m), on or about the 17th of March 2022 in Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did take possession of the aggregate sum of N3,295,012.93 (Three Million, Two Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Twelve Naira and Ninety kobo), which you knew formed part of your unlawful act, namely internet fraud, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 17(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.”
Upon their arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them, prompting the prosecution counsel, Salihu Ahmed, to request the court to deliver convictions and appropriate sentences. However, the defence counsel pleaded with the court to show leniency, considering that the defendants were first-time offenders.
Justice Itsueli pronounced a verdict of guilt and handed down sentences of three years and two years of imprisonment to Ogudu and Osamuyi respectively. They were also given the option to pay a Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine each. Additionally, they were ordered to forfeit their mobile phones and provide written assurance of their good conduct.
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