The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned two suspected Internet fraudsters for alleged impersonation of the British-Nigerian heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua.

The accused are Ukhuriegbe Irekpitan and Onyekwa Chinedum, according to a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday.

One of the suspected Internet fraudsters

The commission said the duo were arraigned by its Benin, Edo State zonal office before a judge of the Benin Division of the Federal High Court, S. M. Shuaibu on Monday.

Each of the defendants faces two counts, EFCC said.

According to part of the charges, the defendants were accused of allegedly sending electronic messages to two ladies and defrauding them of the sums of £10,000 and £5,491,23 respectively in London, the capital of England sometime in 2019.

Their offences are said to be punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.

Charges

One of the counts against one of Mr Joshua’s alleged impersonators, reads “that you Onyekwe Joshua Chinedum (a.k.a Anthony Joshua) sometime in 2019 did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Samantha Johnson, a lady in London which messages she relied upon and which made her to suffer financial loss in the sum of £10,000 thereby committing an offence punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”

One of the charges against Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan reads: “That you Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan, sometime in 2018, did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Mrs Zahra Bagun, a lady in London which messages she relied on and which caused her to suffer the financial loss in the sum of £5,491.23 pounds, equivalent of N2,306,220 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”

Not guilty

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

The prosecution counsel, I.M. Elody asked for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in the custody of the Correctional Service.

One of the suspected Internet fraudsters

The counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to remand them in EFCC custody, a move that was opposed by the EFCC counsel.

The judge adjourned the matter till October 21, and ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Benin City.

Also, last week, the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin imposed a 28 years’ imprisonment on a self-styled Alfa, Jamiu Isiaka, for implementing the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Femi Adeshina, and a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, to defraud a South Korean National, Keun Sig Kim, of N30m, according to a report by The Punch newspaper.

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