A medical practitioner, Anthony Joshua Tobechukwu, and 13 others have been sentenced to different jail terms for cybercrime and online fraud.The Uyo Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the convicts before Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State.Tobechukwu was arraigned alongside Chikezie Ogochukwu Michael, Victor Chijioke, Johnbosco Chidiebere, Kenneth Williams, Mmesoma Oparanozie, Nwosu Emmanuel, Mbewu Chijioke Precious and Uchechukwu Divine.
The convicts were arrested on February 17, 2021 at Umuguma area in Owerri, Imo state following a petition by a concerned Nigerian on their illicit activities.
However, the convicts confessed to the crime during interrogation. They all pleaded guilty to separate one-count charge bordering on impersonation, obtaining by false pretense, and fraud preferred against them by the EFCC.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel reviewed the facts of the case and urged the court to convict them accordingly.
The defence counsel, Innocent Eze and C. N. Nweke Junior prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders and had shown remorse.
Justice Amobeda, while delivering his ruling, convicted and sentenced them as follows; Mbewu, Michael and Joshua were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N50,000.00 each while Chijioke, Johnbosco and Divine were sentenced to 3 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N50,000.00 each.
Three months imprisonment was given to Oparanozie with an option of fine of N20,000.00, while Nwosu bagged 6 months imprisonment with an option of fine of N200,000.00. Williams was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment with an option of fine of N10,000.00.
The judge also ordered that the convicts forfeit all instruments used in committing the crime to the Nigerian Government