The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has secured the conviction of two men, Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru for internet fraud.
According to a statement by the commission, the duo was dragged before Justice O. A Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on five-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property.
The commission said that the offences were contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
Upon their conviction, the commission said, the judge ordered both to forfeit cash and properties in the upscale Lekki axis of Lagos to the Federal Government.
“The forfeited assets include the sums of N196, 741, 216.82 and N7, 054, 852.01 in bank accounts; two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020 and five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos, four-bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos and another four bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos.
“The two vehicles are valued at N30million while the three duplexes are valued at N230million.
“The fraudsters gave up the assets as they could not give satisfactory explanation of the funds and properties linked to them.
“They confessed to involvement in cybercrime. Bakare, 27, an indigene of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State claimed his forte is Business Email Compromise, and that he had hacked into different companies outside the shores of Nigeria.
“The scammers had been successful in their ignoble trade, earning a cumulative sum of $1million USD from victims including three foreign airlines through Business Email Compromise fraud. They laundered the proceeds of crime in acquiring properties including real estate and luxury vehicles,” the statement read in part.
According to EFCC, the suspects ran into troubled waters in September 2020, when operatives of the commission, in the course of investigating a case of suspicious transactions and money laundering involving one Kehinde Adelakun, a convicted internet fraudster, stumbled on evidence linking Alvine International Resources Ventures, owned by the second defendant, Sikiru.
The commission said that the transaction that set off the alarm bell was an inflow of N5million in two tranches from Alvine International Resources Ventures.
“Further probing by the investigators, revealed several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in both the Sterling Bank and Polaris accounts of the second defendant. The balance in both accounts: N196, 741,216.82 in Sterling Bank and N7, 054,852.01 in Polaris Bank, were swiftly placed on a Post No Debit, to forestall dissipation of the funds pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the case.
“The second defendant, in his statement to the Commission, admitted that majority of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant, Bakare, who confessed to being into Business Email Compromise, BEC, between 2009 and 2020 and also hacking into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.
“The fraudster were subsequently arraigned before Justice O. A Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on five-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property, an offence contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State,” the statement further read.
One of the counts read: “Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony to wit: retaining cumulative sum of about $1,000.000,00( One Million United States of America Dollars ) property of KLM, Turkish Airways and British Airways.”
Another count read: “Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court , with a dishonest intent, retained four -bedroom detached duplex situated at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki, Lagos.”
They pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charges preferred against them, the commission said.
The EFCC said that while delivering judgment, Justice Taiwo noted that the action of the defendants was “responsible for giving Nigeria a bad image globally, whereby the average Nigerian is looked upon as being untrustworthy and fraudulent”.
“She convicted and sentenced Bakare, to three years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the option of fine of N3m (Three Million Naira).
“The Judge also convicted and sentenced Sikiru, to three years imprisonment on counts 1 and 5 with an option of fine of N1 million (One Million Naira),” the statement also read.