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Internet Fraudster Bags Seven years in Port Harcourt

Justice P.M Ayua of the Federal High Court sitting in PortHarcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced one Odinakachi Prince Onyeoziri to seven years imprisonment.

He was jailed after pleading guilty to three-count charge bordering on internet fraud contrary to Section 14 (1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section.

One of the count charges read: “That you, Odinakachi Prince Onyeoziri, and Solmyr (at large) between June 2021 to November 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly caused your victim’s loss by inputting or suppressing data in computers thereby benefitting the aggregate sum of $3000 (Three thousand United States Dollars) and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 14(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section”

He pleaded “guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

In view of his guilty pleas, prosecuting counsel, I. Agwu sought to review the facts of the case through the investigating officer, Abalaka Stephen, an operative of the Commission. While being led in evidence, he told the court that the defendant was arrested by operatives of the Commission following a written petition by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, against the defendant for alleged internet fraud activities. He was thereafter apprehended sometime in February, 2024 at Owerri, Imo State.

Testifying further, he told the court that the defendant in his voluntary statement to the EFCC, confessed to being into internet fraud, spreading of computer viruses, spamming and also causing his victims losses by inputting data in computers. He confessed to benefiting an aggregate sum of Three Thousand United States Dollars ($3,000) by representing himself to unsuspecting victims as different individuals

Agwu, thereafter, sought to tender in evidence, the statements, and all the items recovered from the defendant. The court thereafter admitted the evidence and were marked as exhibits.

Thereafter, the trial judge declared him guilty as charged.

Defence counsel, B. Onuoha, on the other hand, prayed the court for leniency. He appealed to the court to temper justice with mercy, considering his status as a first-time offender, and remorse for his actions.

Justice Ayua sentenced him to seven years imprisonment cumulatively with Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) as an option of fine payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In addition, the judge ordered that, items recovered from the convict, two laptops, a mobile device, Toyota Highlander with Registration: NKR 736 AA, two-storey buildings containing six units of two-bedroom flats should be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Additionally, the convict shall depose an affidavit of good behaviour before the court.

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