Internet fraud: EFCC traces suspects’ N373m to banks

Collaboration between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States has resulted in the recovery of $314,000 from suspected internet fraudsters.

Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who disclosed this in Lagos, said N373 million had been traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos zonal office of the commission.

This came as the EFCC/FBI collaboration had also culminated in the arrest, at various locations in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), of 16 suspects connected with internet-related offences.

Magu noted that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.

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According to him, nine of the suspects were undergoing trial, while five were still being investigated, the outcome of which will determine the commission’s next line of action.

Magu, who spoke at a briefing through the Zonal Head of EFCC, Mr. Mohammed Rabo, said “over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”

The Lagos zonal office, he said, had prior to the collaborative efforts with FBI, launched and sustained independent operations against perpetrators of computer-related frauds.

He said: “From 2018 to date, EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

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“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous ‘Yahoo Yahoo boys’ culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts.

“Our efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions.”

Meanwhile, EFCC’s chairman has solicited the support of the media, with a view to projecting the anti-graft war in the country, saying that the commission could not claim monopoly of knowledge in the project.

He said: “All the critical stakeholders, particularly the media, must continue to collaborate and cooperate with us to make the fight a success.

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“I urge you to continue to help us sensitise, mobilise and educate all the critical stakeholders to continue to support the fight against economic and financial crimes. We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream.

“It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youth that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.”

Magu also reiterated the commission’s vow not to leave any stone unturned, in its determination to battle economic and financial crimes.

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