By Ese Awhotu with agency report
A Higher National Diploma (HND) Mechanical Engineering student of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Ojere in Ogun State, Olalekan Ogunremi, was on Wednesday found guilty of criminal impersonation and sentenced to six months in prison.
The 21-year-old “actually found favour before Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, who commuted the one-year punishment proposed for his offence to six months”, the EFCC said in a statement.
“The judge succumbed to his lawyer’s passionate plea that his client had missed two examination sessions owing to the criminal charge filed against him by the Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“Ogunremi had pleaded guilty to the one-count amended charge with which he was arraigned on Wednesday consequent upon a plea bargain arrangement between him and the Commission.
“The offence contravenes Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015, and punishable under Section 22 (2)(iv) of the same Act,” the commission said.
Following his ‘guilty’ plea, the prosecution counsel, Babatunde Sonoiki, had prayed the court to sentence Mr Ogunremi according to the terms contained in the plea bargain agreement he and the defence lawyer, Tunde Lawal, jointly signed.
Though the judge reduced the jail term, she upheld other proposed punishments contained in the agreement, including forfeiture of items recovered during his arrest and investigation, and restitution of sums in foreign currency to his victims.
In a related development, the Commission’s Ibadan office also arraigned two other suspects before Justice Ajoku.
The suspects – Samuel Tanimowo Owolabi (aka Dr. Keilah Forgey, Jame Romero, Romero Williams) and Ekene Kingsley Odinamba – were separately arraigned on charges bordering on obtaining money under false pretence and possession of fraudulent documents with the intent to defraud.
Their offences were contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
Mr Owolabi, according to the 30-count charge preferred against him, swindled his victims of over $21, 000. Mr Odinamba’s four-count charge alleged him of defrauding his victims to the tune of about $2,700.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them.
Due to their not-guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Sanusi Galadanchi, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand them in prison custody.
The court has fixed November 21 and 22 for the hearing of the first and second defendants’ bail applications, as she ordered that they are remanded in prison custody pending the dates
The cases were also adjourned to December 10, 2019 for trial.