An Edo State High Court sitting in Benin-city has convicted and sentenced three internet fraudsters to different jail terms.
The fraudsters: Edo Othuke, Hurock Miracle and Blessing Gbekena were jailed by Justices M. Itsueli and Efe Ikpownonba. While Othuke was convicted on Friday, September 29, 2023, Miracle was jailed on Thursday, September 28, 2023 and Gbekena jailed on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. Othuke bagged two years imprisonment, Gbekena three years imprisonment and Miracle sentenced to community service within the court’s premises.
Othuke was arraigned on one- count charge of unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The Charge reads: “That you Edo Othuke on or about 6th day of September 2023 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did have in your possession on your phones, iPhone X with IMEI 354871090155488 and iPhone 6 with IMEI 354026079799226 documents which you knew or ought to have known contain a false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 and 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
Upon arraignment, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge, prompting prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Faisal to pray the court to convict and sentence him accordingly. However, defence counsel, Stephen Okoshone pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant was a first-time offender.
Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced Othuke to two years imprisonment with an option of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira only ) as fine. The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the convict’s mobile phone and balance of money in his bank account, recovered during the investigation, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Othuke’s journey to the Correctional Centre began, when he was arrested alongside members of his group, following actionable intelligence on their involvement in nefarious activities in Egbiki and Oputo Community, Ovwian, Udu Local Government Area, Delta State. He was prosecuted and convicted.
Both Miracle and Gbekena were arraigned on one-count separate charge bordering on unlawful possession of fraudulent documents. Gbekena’s three years’ imprisonment has an option of fine of N300,000( Three Hundred Thousand Naira only) and the duo are to forfeit their mobile phones recovered during investigation to the Federal Government of Nigeria. They were also ordered to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour afterwards