Andrew Nwadiashi a 40-year-old banker and eight internet fraudsters were on Friday, August 4, 2023, convicted and sentenced to prison by Justice M. Itsueli of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City. The others are Osawa Marvellous, Etinosa Ogieva, Erharruyi Osaigbovo, Isaac Godstime Eghosa, Obasohan Kelvin, Evans Jessa Mike, Timothy Odion and Festus Efe Iyengunmwena.
Nwadiashi was arrested following a petition by First Bank sometime in 2020. As Head, Non-Financial Transaction at the Warri branch of the bank in Delta State, he allegedly disregarded banking policy and debited a customer’s account to the tune of N9, 354,000.00. During the investigation, the banker confessed to the offence.
The eight other defendants were arrested following intelligence which linked them to internet fraud activities
They were subsequently arraigned on separate one-count charges bordering on stealing, retention of proceeds of illegal activities and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents by the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC.
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, I. M Elodi, IK Agwai, K.Y. Bello and Ibrahim Faisal to ask the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced Nwadiashi to two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000. The defendant had fully paid the aggregate sum N9, 654,000.00, being the principal sum and interest, in restitution to the victim of the crime.
The court convicted and sentenced Marvellous, Odion, Ogieva and Iyengunmwena to three years imprisonment with an option of Three Hundred Thousand Naira as fine.
The duo of Osaigbovo and Mike were each sentenced to three years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine.
Eghosa and Kelvin, each bagged one-month imprisonment and a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira.
Justice Itsueli ordered that a Toyota Lexus ES 330; Lexus E350, phone, laptops and the balance in the convicts’ bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.
The charge against Nwadiashi reads: “that you, Andrew Nwadiashi sometimes between 2019 and 2020 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession of the aggregate sum of N9,354,000 (Nine Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-four Thousand Naira) transferred into Bank account number: 2033930949 domiciled in First bank PLC which funds you knew were derived from your unlawful acts to wit: stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(1) (a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act and punishable under section 18(2) of same Act”.
The charge against Kelvin reads: “that you, Obasohan Kelvin sometime in April 2023 in Benin City Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did take possession of the sum of N2,298,000 (Two Million, Two Hundred and Ninety-eight Thousand Naira) transferred into your bank account number: 0652694791 domiciled in Guarantee Trust Bank PLC which funds you knew were derived from unlawful acts to wit: internet fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(1)(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act and punishable under section 18(2) of the same Act”.