BAD WEEK FOR 419b SCAMMERS: ONE JAILED IN UK AND THREE ON TRIAL IN LAGOS

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It was a bad week for 419 scammers as three went on trial in Lagos and another (in an unrelated case) was jailed in the UK.

The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned three persons for conspiracy and fraud related offences at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja Judicial Division. The trio, Edwin Obi, Kenneth Metu, and Kingsley Dike a.k.a. Solomon Jaja were last week at the Ikeja High Court, before Justice Olubunmi Oyewole; charged with conspiracy, contrary to Section 8 (a) and 13 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.

The three accused persons, according to Mr. Seidu Atte, prosecution counsel; had sometime in July, 2003, in Lagos, conspired to obtain from one Joseph Ani (complainant) the sum of one million and seventy thousand naira by false pretences. They were alleged to have, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N1,070,000 from Ani, between the months of July and October, 2003 in Lagos, by falsely representing to him that they were capable of producing United States dollars from a piece of paper by washing it with a chemical substance.

Meanwhile the Chief prosecution witness in the USD254 million advance fee fraud, involving five Nigerians, namely Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel Ofulue, Mr. Obum Osakwe and Chief Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, last week raised the alarm, alleging that hired killers were after his life. Dr. Obev Uke, who said he was the lead prosecution witness, having reported the financial crime against a Brazilian businessman to the police, stated on phone last night that he was in hiding, after he narrowly escaped being killed by gunmen, who stormed his Enugu home last Monday.

A Nigerian based in Wales, United Kingdom has been jailed for 20 months by a Welsh court, for tricking people into handing over money and personal data in expectation of receiving a huge windfall. Peter Okoeguale, 33, who was arrested in Wales while in the process of committing one such advance fee fraud, ‘419’, scam, also faces deportation from the UK at the end of his sentence. When arrested, Okoeguale was found in possession of headed notepapers and forged documents, all created for the purposes of duping gullible victims and making them believe he was in charge of a large fortune which needed to be laundered through a Western bank account.

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