Abuja court refuses EFCC plea bargain, jails corps member without option

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Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday sentenced a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Ajayi Temitope Ayokunle, to two months’ imprisonment without option of fine.

The 30- year old corps member who posed as Dr Joshua to defraud an American citizen, Maria, of $1,000 dollars will in addition to his imprisonment forfeit a cash sum of $500 dollars found in his bank account and a sophisticated android telephone to the federal government.

Justice Ekwo who expressed utter disgust on the embarrassing rate of cybercrime among Nigerian youths turned down the plea bargain entered by the convict with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wherein he confessed to committing the crime and requested for a soft landing of options of fines.

At the Tuesday arraignment of the convict, the lawyer to EFCC, Mrs Dichi Gershom Umar drew the attention of Justice Ekwo to the plea bargain and urged him to convict the defendant with an option of fine, a request the Judge rejected instantly.

The EFCC counsel said that the defendant had by the plea bargain confessed to committing the Cybercrime offence and agreed to forfeit the $500 dollars cash in his account and the android phone used to commit the crime to the federal government.

However, Justice Ekwo who was not comfortable with the terms of the plea bargain subjected the convict to questioning while in the dock.

The convict told the Judge that he read Political Science in the university and currently undergoing his one-year mandatory service with the NYSC.

Apparently not happy with the unremorseful attitude of the defendant, Justice Ekwo said the issue of options of fines would not happen in his court in order to serve as detterent to other criminally-minded youths.

The Judge subsequently ordered him to remain in prison for two months beginning from November 23.

In the one-count charge preferred against the convict by EFCC, he was said to have fraudulently defrauded one Maria, a United States of America citizen, under the pretext of romance by posing as Dr Joshua to deliver the sum of $1,000 which she would not have done but for the deceit.

The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2021, the EFCC said was contrary to section 22 (2) of the Cybercrime Prohibition, Prevention Act 2015.

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