EFCC Mounts Surveillance for 10 Nigerians Allegedly Involved in Internet Scam

  •   Secures convictions of 23, recovers N198m, $48,000 in Kaduna

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it has mounted surveillance for 10 of the 78 Nigerians from the South-east, allegedly involved in scam.

The commission has also said it has secured convictions for 23 out of the 48 suspects arrested for various internet fraud between January and August.

The Head of Enugu Zonal Office of the commission, Mr. Usman Imam, disclosed this yesterday in Enugu while briefing journalists on the activities of the commission in the past eight months.

It would be recalled that the US Department of Justice had indicted 80 persons, including 78 Nigerians, in the multi-billion dollar fraud.

Imam said that the anti-graft agency was seriously working with the scoop at its disposal and had placed surveillance on the suspects.

He gave the assurance that the suspects would be arrested and prosecuted “in order to prove to the world that such crime does not represent our values”.

He said that the commission had the legal backing to prosecute the suspects in line with international treaties.

“There is a mutual treaty between Nigeria and the USA. We will arrest them and if need be extradite them to the USA,” Imam said.

He said that the alleged offence was multi-jurisdictional “because the stages leading to the crime was either initiated in Nigeria or the proceeds brought to the country”.

He said that it was unacceptable to see parents enjoying ill-gotten wealth of their children, who they knew had no serious means of livelihood.

“Such also applies to the clergy and traditional rulers who rather than question suspiciously acquired wealth not only attribute it to God, but bestow titles on such individuals.

“We assure Nigerians of our commitment to ensuring a better Nigeria so we warn looters and fraudsters about the consequences of their actions,” Imam said.

Meanwhile, the commission said it has secured convictions for 23 out of the 48 suspects arrested for various internet fraud between January and August.

The Head of Kaduna Zonal office of the EFCC Zonal, Mr Mailafia Yakubu, disclosed this at a news conference in Kaduna yesterday.

“The Kaduna Zonal office through intelligence reports launched several sting operations on various computer related frauds which resulted in the arrest of 48 internet fraudsters in their hideouts.

“The zone secured conviction of 23 persons, while others are in various stages of investigation and prosecution,” he said.

Yakubu said the zonal office also recovered N198,727,241.5 and $48,000 in cash and draft within the period under review.

According to him, the commission received 345 petitions, out of which 286 were considered for investigations, while 52 were forwarded to its legal and prosecution department and 56 cases are in court.

He said that the commission’s recent collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had also yielded results leading to the recovery of the sum of $314,000 and about N373, 000,000 from computer related frauds, while the sum of N373 million had been traced to various commercial banks.

“It is my pleasure to brief you on our effort to rid the society of economic and financial crimes, most especially internet fraud, popularly known as (yahoo yahoo), cyber crimes and our collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

“Internet is the most widely used communication ever constructed; it is also use by millions of humans and machines every second of every day.

“There are good and bad things happening on the internet and among other things are on-going attempts to scam innocent people of their money or identity.

“Their modus of operandi includes clone of foreign numbers which they in turn use to create fictitious email accounts on various social media platforms: such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, Google hang out and they also use the same fake email addresses to open account on foreign online dating site.

“They also use that method to open foreign bank accounts with the help of their counterparts living abroad, while they also use fake documents to perpetrate illegal activities in the cyber space.

“Few among this type of fraud include love/romance scam, contract/ company scam, Bit coin business scam, employment scam, online dating, travel scam, impersonation scam among others,” Yakubu said.

The official explained that the fraudsters also create fake Facebook pages using display pictures and names belonging to mostly foreigners in order to deceive unsuspecting victims.

“Their victims are mostly females of white nationality intimating them that they are soldiers deployed from USA to Afghanistan, Iran or any other foreign mission.

“Another mode of operation is to link up with their conspirators known as pickers residing around the globe to help them in receiving their loots through their dollar accounts domiciled all over the world for onward transfer to Nigeria.

“In most cases, they buy items and send them to Nigeria and sell them cheaper to divert attention in the inflow of money into the country where their Pickers usually got 30 per cent of the loots, while 70 per cent is shared among other members.