International ‘catcher’, Osondu Igwilo’s accomplice jailed 16 years for internet fraud

Justice I.O. Ijelu of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has convicted and sentenced one Anana Keneth Emeka to 16 years in prison for computer-related fraud.

A press statement by the EFCC Spokesperson Dele Oyewale, Friday in Abuja, said 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”.

He said Igwilo had been on the watch list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), since 2018 until his arrest by operatives of the EFCC on March 11, 2022.
The spokesperson said 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.
He said the defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him, and 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, the spokesperson added.

He noted, however, that 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 doubts, 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.

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