….. orders FG to take over their multimillion naira assets
Two internet fraudsters, Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru have been sentenced to three years imprisonment each, by the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja over cybercrimes.
The Court also directed the forfeiture of multimillion naira properties and cash linked to them to the Federal Government.
The fraudsters were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and were subsequently arraigned before Justice O. A Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, on a five-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property, an offense contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
Both men have reportedly earned a cumulative sum of over $1million USD from victims including three foreign airlines through Business Email Compromise fraud, using the proceeds of the crime in acquiring properties including real estate and luxury vehicles.
However, trouble started on 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 transaction sets off the alarm inflow of N5million in two tranches from Alvine International Resources Ventures.
Further investigations by the Commission, 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 investigations 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.
When both men were arraigned before the Court, they pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.
Delivering his 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 a 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 a fine of N1 million (One Million Naira).
Justice Taiwo also held that the 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, recovered from the first Defendant be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Judge further directed that the sums of N196, 741, 216.82 recovered from the Second Defendant’s company, Alvine International Resources Ventures account domiciled in Sterling Bank and N7, 054, 852. 01 recovered from the Second Defendant’s account domiciled in Polaris Bank be forfeited to the Federal Government
Two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020 recovered from the First Defendant were also ordered forfeited to the Federal Government.
The two vehicles are valued at N30million while the three duplexes are valued at N230million.