Two convicted fraudsters, Tobilola Bakare and Alimi Sikiru, have forfeited three duplexes in the Lekki area of Lagos and N200m cash to the Federal Government following their prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The forfeited assets include N196,741,216 and N7,054,852 in two bank accounts; two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020; a five-bedroom duplex on Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos; a four- bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos; and another four-bedroom semi-detached duplex in the Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos.
The two vehicles are valued at N30m, while the three duplexes are valued at N230m.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on Monday, said the fraudsters gave up the assets after they could not give satisfactory explanation of the funds and property linked to them.
“They confessed to involvement in cybercrime. Bakare, 27, an indigene of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, claimed his forte was Business Email Compromise, and that he hacked into different companies outside the shores of Nigeria,” he added.
Uwujaren said the scammers had been successful in their trade, earning a cumulative sum of $1m from victims, including three foreign airlines through BEC fraud.
He noted that they laundered the proceeds of crime in acquiring real estate and luxury vehicles.
Uwujaren said, “Life was good but their comeuppance began 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 sets off the alarm bell was an inflow of N5m in two tranches from Alvine International Resources Ventures.”
According to the commission, further probe by investigators revealed several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in both the Sterling Bank and Polaris Bank 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.
“The second defendant, in his statement to the commission, admitted that most of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant, Bakare, who confessed to being into Business Email Compromise, between 2009 and 2020 and also hacking into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways,” the EFCC added.
The fraudsters were subsequently arraigned before Justice O. A. Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on five counts bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property, offences contrary to sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The two men 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 being untrustworthy and fraudulent”.
She convicted and sentenced Bakare to three years’ imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with an option of N3m fine.
The judge also convicted and sentenced Sikiru to three years’ imprisonment on counts 1 and 5 with an option of N1m fine.
She ordered the forfeiture of their property and vehicles. PUNCH