Justice I.O. Ijelu of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has convicted and sentenced one Anana Keneth Emeka to 16 years imprisonment for computer-related fraud.
Emeka was arrested at his residence on 567, Road 21, Mayfair Garden Estate, Awoyaya, Lagos State, following investigations into the alleged criminal activities of one Osondu Victor Igwilo, a leader of a criminal network “catcher”, who had been on the watch list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, since 2018 until his arrest by operatives of the EFCC on Thursday, March 11, 2022.
The convict was first arraigned on three-count charges on June 7, 2022, and subsequently re-arraigned, on December 28, 2022, on eight-count amended charges bordering on possession of fraudulent documents, forgery, giving of false information and impersonation.
Count one reads: “Ajana Kenneth Emeka, sometime in 2022 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, had in your possession fraudulent documents titled ‘THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY’ in the name of ‘HANY A.O. SALMAN HALIMA’ which representation was printed from your phone, representation you knew or ought to have known to be fraudulent.”
Count two reads: “Ajana Kenneth Emeka, sometime in 2022 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, had in your possession fraudulent documents wherein you falsely represented yourself as ‘Christopher Dods Named’ to unsuspecting members of the public, which representation was printed from your phone, representation you knew or ought to have known to be fraudulent.”
Count three reads: “Ajana Kenneth Emeka, sometime in 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, knowingly forged a document titled ‘FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA NATIONAL DRIVERS LICENCE’ with L/N APP40679AA79 issued in the name of EMEKA NWAGU which you purported to have been issued by the Federal Road Safety Commission.”
The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against him.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution called witnesses, including an FBI representative, EFCC investigation officers as well as an EFCC forensic expert who carried out analyses on the defendant’s mobile device.
The prosecution also tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence against the defendant by the court. However, in the course of tendering the extra-judicial statement of the defendant, defence counsel, C. Obieze, SAN objected to the extra-judicial statement of the defendant on grounds of voluntariness.
Consequently, the Judge ordered a trial-within-trial and the extra-judicial statement of the defendant was, thereafter, admitted in evidence. After the prosecution had closed its case, the defendant took to the dock to defend himself and also denied all the charges against him.
Delivering judgment on October 3, 2023, Justice Ijelu held that the prosecution proved the eight counts against him beyond reasonable doubt, and declared him guilty as charged on all the counts.
He was, consequently, sentenced to two years on counts one to three each, with an option of fine of N250,000; two years on count four, with an option of fine of N300,000; two years on count five, with an option of fine of N250,000; two years on count six, with an option of fine of N250,000; and two years on counts seven and eight each, with an option of fine of N300,000.
The fines are to be paid within 30 days, otherwise, he will serve out the prison terms.
The Judge further ordered the forfeiture of items and property recovered from him, including one Samsung Galaxy mobile device as well as the house located at 567, Road 21, Mayfair Garden Estate, Awoyaya, Lagos to the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of his victims.