Ex-Gombe commissioner, three Internet fraudsters jailed

The Court of Appeal has found Samuel Adamu, a former Gombe State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and ex-Chairman of the Shongom Local Government Area, guilty of fraud.

According to Wilson Uwujaren, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, the ex-commissioner was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison on July 23, 2020, for N97,640,000 fraud, cheating, and money laundering charges brought against him by the anti-graft agency’s Gombe zonal office.

However, he was dissatisfied with the ruling of the court and approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the trial court

The statement read in part, “The lower court had convicted and sentenced Adamu to cumulative 31 years’ imprisonment on the seven counts preferred against him.

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“Commissioner Adamu was convicted for awarding a contract to a non-existing company, inflation of contract and payment of the contractor above his threshold.

“However, the appellate court resolved the appeal in favour of the EFCC by affirming the judgment of the lower court, including the consequential order for the refund of N31,640,000.”

In a similar development, operatives of the Port Harcourt zonal office of the EFCC have arrested eight suspected Internet fraudsters at the Royal Palm Estate, Peter Odili Road, Port Harcourt.

The EFCC statement said the suspects, Ebitamuno Abereoku, Theophilus Monday, Godgift Clinton, Joshua Pina, Bright Achesomie, Samuel Akunna, Ugbe Paul and Harvey Orji, were arrested based on verified intelligence, adding that preliminary investigation linked them to suspected bitcoin and romance scams.

The statement read in part, “Items recovered from the suspects include three exotic cars made up of one ash Lexus ES 350 car, one white Lexus RS 330 Sports Utility Vehicle and a white Land Cruiser SUV. Others are 11 different models of iPhones, four different models of other phones, three laptops, three zealot speakers, two smartwatches, two ATM cards and one identity card.”

It added that the suspects would be charged as soon as investigation into the case was concluded.

The agency has also secured the conviction of three Internet fraudsters in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Uwujaren said in a separate statement that the Ibadan zonal office of the commission prosecuted the cases.

He stated that two of the convicts were prosecuted by the Federal High Court, while the third was convicted by the Oyo State High Court, both in Ibadan.

The presiding judge at the Federal High Court, Justice Patricia Ajoku, convicted Samuel Owolabi, aka Dr Keilah Forgey, and Sunday Akinrinmade of fraudulent impersonation contrary to sections 22 (3) (a) and 22 (2) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015, and punishable under the same Act.

Owolabi was sentenced to 19 months’ imprisonment, while Akinrinmade bagged three months in jail.

The EFCC spokesman said the court also ordered Owolabi to forfeit a Lexus RX300 SUV, another Lexus RX330 SUV, a silver Macbook Air laptop, one grey Apple smart wristwatch, two LG television sets, one white iPhone X, one white Apple mouse and two flash drives.

Uwujaren said Akinrinmade was ordered to forfeit the sum of N986,855.85 in his GTBank account with number 0167977299 and an iPhone 11 Pro Max Plus to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The statement added, “In similar vein, Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, convicted and sentenced Azeez Akinkunmi to three months’ community service on one count of obtaining property by false pretences.

“He was ordered to make restitution in the sum of $110 to his victim, Mike Anderson, through the EFCC.”

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