A federal high court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, has convicted and sentenced one Nwalozie Julius, who impersonated Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to three years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The convict was arraigned by the Uyo zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on one-count charge, bordering on impersonation and obtaining N4.5 million.by false pretence.
Nwalozie’s journey to jail began on December 6, 2019, when he was arrested “based on reliable intelligence on the activities of internet fraudsters, operating in Owerri, the Imo state capital”.
“Upon arrest, the convict confessed to the crime and a forensic analysis of the HP laptop recovered from him further implicated him as several incriminating documents of false pretence and fraudulent extortion were printed from his laptop which he also admitted, emanated from him,” the EFCC said in a statement.
The one-count charge against the convict reads: “That you, Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius (alias Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria) on or about 26th day of August, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, fraudulently impersonated one Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria by using email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, with intent to obtain money, property or any advantage from one Omar Deep and other unsuspecting persons, the pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (ii) of the Cybercrime (Provision, Prevention Etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.”
He pleaded guilty to the charge, prompting Joshua Abolarin, the prosecuting counsel, to pray the court to review the facts of the case through a prosecution witness, Haliru Bagudo, an operative of the EFCC.
While reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecution tendered various exhibits through Bagudo, which were admitted in evidence.
Consequently, Abolarin prayed the court to invoke section 274 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA and convict the defendant in view of the evidence adduced and the plea of the defendant.
In his judgment, Okeke said she was satisfied with the evidence before the court that the defendant was guilty as charged.
“Prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant, Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius, committed the offence as charged. I therefore convict you accordingly. The court equally takes cognisance of the spree with which fraudsters defraud innocent citizens and therefore sentence you Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius to three years imprisonment with effect from date of your arrest,” she held.