Banker, Eight Others Convicted for Internet Fraud

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Kingsley Nwezeh

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the convictions of nine internet fraudsters and a banker before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State.

They were arraigned separately for offences bordering on impersonation, intent to defraud and failure to disclose suspicious transactions.

Those convicted are Onomua Victor (a.k.a John Williamson), Ovie Evans (a.k.a Miller John), Ikpasa Efe ( Julius Mark ), Abuwa Mavis, Akegor Godbless Omamuyovwi (a.k.a Sherri Hunt), Eyoyibo Joseph ( a.k.a Norman Greg), Akpighoro Malvelt (a.k.a Michel Reymond), Anthony Omonomo (a.k.a John), Edofeuwose Maya and Peter Atolo.

The charge against Akegor Godless Omamuyovmi reads. “that you Akegor Godbless Omamuyovwi (Alias Sherri Hunt) Julius Oluwafunmisho Okedele (now at large) Oyi ye Enwefah (now at large) and Eke Jane Frances (now at large) sometime between 2018 and June 2019 in Ughelli, Delta State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently impersonate the identity of one Sherri Hunt and posed as an oil worker in Milan in your yahoo mail account and in that false identity sent love scam mails to Ms. Roberta Daley, a Canada resident . In that process induced her to transfer the sum of $390, 952 to you and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 22 (2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2)(b)(IV) of same Act.”

All the defendants pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel, Larry Aso Peters prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants as contained in the plea bargain agreement. However, the defence counsel, Pascal Ugaome pleaded with his lordship to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders who have become remorseful for their actions and have promised never to return to crime.

Justice Nwite after listening to both the defence and the prosecution counsel, convicted and sentenced the defendants to six months imprisonment commencing from the date of judgment or an option of two hundred thousand naira (N200,000) fine.

The judge also ordered them to forfeit items recovered from them as proceeds of crime to the federal government.

However, according to EFCC’s statement, the court sentenced Akegor Godbless Omamuyovwi to six months Imprisonment or an option of N2 million fine. He is also to restitute $390,952 to the victim.

Malami Emerges UNIDROIT Chair

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has been elected as Chairman of the 78th session of the General Assembly of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), an international organisation that seeks to harmonise international private laws across 63 member countries. A statement by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said the AGF was chosen by a unanimous vote at the 78th General Assembly Meeting on December 12 in Rome.

His election followed a proposal by South Africa, Egypt, Australia, and Spain that the AGF be elected to chair the Assembly of the state

parties, according to the statement. The nomination was unanimously supported by the General Assembly of member states, including United State of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada.

Addressing the Assembly for the first time as its Chair, Malami declared his commitment to the enforcement of relevant international conventions on the improvement of member-countries’ private laws. He said Nigeria had been an active member of UNIDROIT since 1964.

Malami described Nigeria as a major global commercial player, saying, the country is “Africa’s largest economy and projected to be among the top 20 economies by 2050”.

He recalled that a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoaka, SAN, was elected for a five-year term (2008-2013) to the UNIDROIT Governing Council.

The minister said with Nigeria’s advancement in the areas of telecommunication and e-commerce, the country had taken greater interest in the emerging global legal architecture being developed by UNIDROIT.

He declared commitment to boosting the activities of UNIDROIT during his tenure as Chairman, saying he will work diligently towards ensuring the “entry into force of the Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on matters specific to Mining, Agriculture and Construction of Equipment (MAC Protocol), the text of which was adopted at the diplomatic conference held in Pretoria, South Africa, November, 2019.”

AGF said, “Following extensive consultations with stakeholders on the future Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts,” he hoped to see to the “finalisation of the draft text for presentation to and adoption by the Governing Council in May, 2020.”

While maintaining commitment to “entry into force of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol, which currently requires only one more Contracting State to enter into force”, he said with that Protocol’s entry into force, it could “begin facilitating cross-border and domestic financing of railway rolling stock, thereby generating economic growth, and provide further momentum in attracting more Contracting States to that Protocol.”

On institutional development, the chair said he will work to ensure the adoption and implementation of UNIDROIT’s Work Programme for the 2020-2022 triennium, which he said was of great importance in guiding the use of UNIDROIT’s limited resources and determining its various projects and their respective priorities.

Malami expressed his determination to ensure full implementation of the recently adopted compensation and social security reforms, together with possible improvements to UNIDROIT’s Regulations and its overall administrational framework.

He called on all state parties to work hard towards achieving their objectives.

According to him, “The unification of private law is a great task UNIDROIT is saddled with. It, therefore, behoves on this session for all hands to be on deck to ensure issues on the agenda are tackled expeditiously. I have no doubt in this endeavour, I can presume your cooperation and assistance throughout this session.”

In his address shortly before the election, the Chair of the General Secretary (2018-2019), Ambassador of Luxembourg to Italy, Paul Duhr, noted that the post of Chair of the General Assembly had traditionally rotated among the four geographical regions of UNIDROIT pursuant to the Article 7(7) of the UNIDROIT regulations.

Malami is a former President of International Anti-Corruption Academy and Member, International Court of Arbitration.