The FCT High Court in Gwagwalada on Thursday ordered a student, Istifanus Irmiya, to clean the premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for two weeks for internet fraud.
Irmiya was docked by the EFCC on a two-count charge, boarding on cheating and personation.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and begged the court for leniency.
Delivering judgment, Justice Aliyu Shafa, convicted and sentenced Irmiya to clean the commission’s premises from 9 a.m. to 12 noon daily for two weeks.
Shafa also ordered Irmiya to pay a fine of N100, 000.
He ordered that the phone used by the convict to perpetuate the crime should be burnt.
“I have carefully listened to the plea of allocutus made by the convict and the defence counsel.
“The rate of internet fraud through Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, among others in the society is so alarming. That he is a first time offender is not an excuse to go scot-free.
“The rate of Yahoo-Yahoo among youths is alarming. “Many who resort to crime always have ‘I want to get rich quick’ mindset. Sending him to prison might make him more hardened,” the judge ruled.
Earlier, the convict pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, adding that he would not indulge in such acts again.
“I want to beg the court for mercy. I’m deeply sorry for what I have done. I’m a changed person now knowing fully well the consequences of my offence,” he said.
The Defence Counsel, Mr. Chibuike Chima, in support of the allocutus by the convict, told the court that Irmiya had no previous conviction record and was also remorseful.
“Irmiya is the only son of the family and he is seeking admission into the university. He has spent one month in EFCC custody.
“The convict has shown remorse and genuinely repented over the crime he has committed by way of expressing genuine repentance, he has restituted the proceeds of crime which is the sum of 250 Euros.
“The convict is a first-time offender. He has not been convicted for any other crime of whatever kind. We urge my lord to tamper justice with mercy.
“We assure this court that going forward, the convict will be of good behaviour,” Chima pleaded.
The EFCC Counsel, Ms Taiwo Aromolaran, told the court that Irmiya had sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of the court cheated by personation.
Aromolaran said that the convict deceived his victim while pretending to be one mistress Clara a female Caucasian.
She said that the convict carried out an illegal act, making one Alex Lexis, a German, to send him the sum of 250 Euros which he received via PayPal and Nosh Apps before transferring the money to his own account domiciled with Polaris Bank.
She said that the convict sometime in 2022, also had in his possession documents containing false-pretence, where he represented himself as a German on his Facebook and KK accounts, created by him with the intent to induce Alex Lexis to deliver money to him.
She said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 321 of the Penal Code Act of the Federation (Abuja), 1990 and punishable under Section 324 of the same Act.
Also, Section 6 in conjunction with Section 8 of the advance-fee fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
She pleaded with the court that the cell phone being the instrument used for the crime should be forfeited.
Aromolaran urged the court to take into consideration the increase in the menace of internet frauds in Nigeria, adding that the fraudsters operated as syndicates.
“They believe that merely coming to court and pleading guilty is enough to attract the sympathy of the court. (NAN)