A High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has ordered the forfeiture of three duplexes, N200 million and several cars of two fraudsters to the federal government.
The convicted duo, Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, were arraigned in the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on amended charges of conspiracy and retaining stolen properties, offences contrary to sections 411 and 328, Criminal Laws of Lagos State. Both convicts pleaded guilty to the charges.
Delivering judgment, Justice Taiwo noted that the action of the defendants was “responsible for giving Nigeria a bad image globally, whereby the average Nigerian is looked upon as untrustworthy and fraudulent”.
She convicted and sentenced Bakare to three years imprisonment with the option of N3 million fine.
The judge also convicted and sentenced Sikiru, to three years imprisonment with an option of N1 million fine.
Justice Taiwo held that the five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos; four bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos; and another four bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos recovered from the first defendant be forfeited to the federal government.
The judge further held that the sums of N196,741,216.82 recovered from the second defendant’s company, Alvine International Resources Ventures account domiciled in Sterling Bank and N7,054,852.01 recovered from the second defendant’s account domiciled in Polaris Bank be forfeited to the federal government.
Two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020 recovered from the first defendant were also ordered forfeited to the federal government
The two vehicles are valued at N30 million while the three duplexes are valued at N230 million.
The agency’s Head, Media and Publicity, in a statement said the fraudsters gave up the assets as they could not give satisfactory explanation of the funds and properties linked to them.
He said they admitted their involvement in cybercrime. Bakare, 27, an indigene of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, admitted his speciality is business email compromise, and that he had hacked into different companies outside the shores of Nigeria.
He said the scammers had been successful in their ignoble trade, earning a cumulative sum of $1 million USD from victims including three foreign airlines through business email compromise fraud. They laundered the proceeds of crime by acquiring properties including real estate and luxury vehicles.
“Trouble began for them in September 2020, when operatives of the commission, in the course of investigating a case of suspicious transactions and money laundering involving one Kehinde Adelakun, a convicted internet fraudster, stumbled on evidence linking Alvine International Resources Ventures, owned by the second defendant, Sikiru.
“The transaction that set off the alarm bell was an inflow of N5 million in two tranches from Alvine International Resources Ventures.
“Further probing by the investigators, revealed several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in both the Sterling Bank and Polaris accounts of the second defendant.
“The balance in both accounts – N196, 741,216.82 in Sterling Bank and N7, 054,852.01 in Polaris Bank – were swiftly placed on a Post No Debit, to forestall dissipation of the funds pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the case,” he added.