Court Jails Two Internet Fraudsters In Calabar

JUSTICE Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State has convicted and sentenced two internet fraudsters to various terms of imprisonment for impersonation.

The convicts: Atsuwe Emmanuel Terver and Onguntubor Victor Roland were jailed on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 after pleading guilty to one-count separate charges bordering on impersonation, upon their arraignment by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

One of the charge reads: “That you, Atsuwe Emmanuel Terver (a.k.a Benjones, Rony, Dieter Kranz, Andrew Mercer, Ben Arezki, Jerry Hierro),  “M” sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonate one Ben Jones to unsuspecting victims, with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act”.

They pleaded “guilty” to the charges when it was read to them.

In view of their pleas, EFCC Counsel, S. R. Akinrinlade, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.  However,  defence counsel, Koko Essien and Udeme Tom prayed the court for leniency.

Justice Ojukwu convicted and   sentenced Terver and Roland to six months’ imprisonment each,  with an option of  fine of N600,000.00(Six Hundred Thousand Naira only).

The court also ordered that they forfeit all instruments used in committing the crime, while Roland was ordered to restitute the sum of $350 to his victim, through the EFCC.

The convicts’ journey to jail started when the Commission received an intelligence report over their online criminal activities. They specialized in impersonating foreign nationals and defrauding their victims under that guise.

In a related development, the trial of one Enyinnaya Donald Chidiebere, an alleged internet fraudster continued before Justice Ojukwu with the prosecution counsel, S. R. Akinrinlade calling the first Witness (PW1), ASE II Alhassan Nuhu, an operative of the Commission.

A number of documents were tendered through the witness, and admitted in evidence. They include the voluntary statement of the defendant, a forensic Computer/Phone Ownership Attestation Form, the suspect’s phone, request for Digital Forensic Analysis, Forensic Laboratory Report, the defendant’s application for a plea bargain agreement, and the plea bargain agreement jointly entered by the defendant and the prosecution and signed by the defendant.

The matter was adjourned till June 14 and 15 2022, for cross-examination of the PW1 and continuation of trial.