Gospel Asawari, Asuquo Daniel Bright, and Chile Mark Chioma have been found guilty of impersonation and obtaining money through false pretense, a violation of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
The court, acting on charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – Port Harcourt Zonal Command, delivered the verdict on Thursday, July 20, 2023.
Having pleaded “guilty” to the separate one count charges, the defendants faced prosecution counsel, K. A. Yunus, A. J. Obagie, and A. Abubakar, who urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
On the other hand, counsel to the defendants, G. N. Chukwu, B. F. Esaenwi, and E. S. Aluzu, appealed for mercy.
Ultimately, Justice Ajoku sentenced each defendant to one year of imprisonment, with the option of paying Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000.00) as a fine to the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of several items recovered from the fraudsters, including one Infinix Smart 6 plus, one black iPhone XR, one iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($150.00USD), along with one iPhone 8 mobile device to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To add to their punishment, the convicts must depose an affidavit of good behavior.
Investigation into their activities revealed the operation of multiple fake social media accounts primarily used to defraud unsuspecting foreigners.
This verdict sends a strong message against cybercrime but also highlights the need for continued vigilance in combating such criminal activities in the digital age.