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Man bags one-year jail term for romance scam

A Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, sentenced a middle-aged man, Ahmed Tijani, to a year imprisonment for involvement in a romance scam, using fraudulent documents.

Trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada convicted Tijani of an allegation of possessing a document containing false pretence brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

EFCC had arraigned him on a one-count amended charge, bordering on possession of documents containing false pretence and he pleaded guilty to the charge.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Temitope Banjo, told the court that Tijani had in his possession documents containing false pretences, where he falsely represented himself as a female, with intent to defraud.

Following his guilty plea, Banjo called the prosecution witness to review the facts of the case against the defendant.

The witness, Vincent Kwambuge, an EFCC operative, narrated how the commission’s personnel, acting on intelligence reports, burst the activities of suspected internet fraudsters in Lekki.

He identified the defendant as one of the 18 people arrested after a sting operation was carried out.

Kwanbuge said: “Sometime in April, the Commission received credible and reliable intelligence on the activities of an organised cyber-criminal syndicate network operating at Lekki, Lagos.

“The sting operation was conducted on April 29, which resulted in the arrest of 18 suspected internet fraudsters, including the defendant, who was handed over to the EFCC operatives for further investigation.

“The mobile devices recovered from the defendant at the point of arrest were analysed and he (defendant) also volunteered his statement, in which he admitted to engaging in a romance scam from which he had benefited $1,200.”

The fraudulent documents were printed from his device and a bank draft of N500,000 were all admitted as evidence after no objection was raised by the defence counsel.

In her judgment, Justice Dada found Tijani guilty as charged and sentenced him to one- year imprisonment to be served in Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

The judge, however, gave the convict an option of an N500,000 fine, following the allocates of his counsel, Mr Damilola Ayinde-Marshall.

Also, the judge ordered the forfeiture of all the items recovered from the convict, which were proceeds of his fraudulent activities online.

She also ordered the convict to sign an undertaking with EFCC, upon his release, never to engage in any form of economic and financial crimes within and outside Nigeria and to be of good behaviour


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