…Docks whistleblower for allegedly giving false information to EFCC***
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) highlighted on Tuesday that its collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the arrest of 167 Nigerians for alleged computer related frauds.
The Executive Chairman of the commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu indicated this in Lagos, through his representative and the commission’s Lagos Director of Operations, Mr. Mohammed Abba.
Magu said that the just concluded coordinated operations with the FBI tagged: ‘Operation Rewired’, also resulted in the recovery of the sum of $169,850 as well as N92 million.
He posited that four exotic cars, plots of land in choice areas in Lagos and a property in Abuja were also recovered during the operations.
“Being an international model operation targeted at computer related frauds, the EFCC, FBI collaborative operations, spanning three weeks, was designed to intercept and interrupt the global network of internet fraudsters.
“Before now, we had relentlessly launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous ‘yahoo yahoo boys’, culminating into various strategic raids, onslaught on criminals hideout, prosecutions and convictions.
“Our efforts in collaborating and coordinating the EFCC, FBI joint operations in Nigeria recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, seizures and recoveries.
“The suspected fraudsters arrested in the course of the operation will be prosecuted accordingly,” he said, urging the media to continue to help in mobilising and educating all critical stakeholders on the need to support the fight against economic and financial crimes.
He said the society owes the youths that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.
“I wish to state with a high sense of responsibility, that there are no short- cut to success other than hard work.
“The youths, therefore, must shun crime and its alluring temptations, because it will always end in sorrow and regrets.
“Now that the infamous internet crimes have received global attention and concern, there will be no hiding place for fraudsters,” he said.
Magu said that the EFCC would continue to partner with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies, especially in the area of exchange of information and actionable intelligence.
He said that this would reduce the menace of cyber crime and other computer based frauds in the country.
Also speaking, Mr Uche Ahamdi, Legal Attaché, FBI, Abuja said that IC3; FBI’s global reporting internet fraud body received 20,373 Business E-mail Compromised (BEC) complaints with losses of over 1.2 billion dollars.
“The FBI and law enforcement partners in the U.S. and abroad implemented a strategy to target and disrupt these scammers and illicit actors and dismantle international fraudulent BEC transactions.
“The sweep ran from May through September during a four week period primarily in the U.S., Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, France, Italy, UK, Japan, Kenya and Malaysia.
“This was done in accordance to the efforts to dismantle international fraudulent BEC transactions and pursue organised criminal enterprises that target and harm American businesses,” he said.
Ahamdi said the global goal of the operation was to send a message to all who participated in the BEC scheme that they would be caught and prosecuted regardless of where they were located.
In the meantime, a Whistleblower, Umoh Edem was on Tuesday arraigned by the EFCC before an Ikeja High Court, for allegedly giving false N700 million pension and tax evasion fraud information about a company.
The EFCC charged Edem with making false statement to a public officer.
Counsel of the EFCC, Mr. S.O. Daji told the court that the defendant committed the offence on August 7, in Lagos.
Daji said that the defendant provided false information to the EFCC about the involvement of a company, Starsonic/Sacvin Group of Nigeria, where he was an employee.
“The defendant, claimed that the management staff of the company was involved in a massive pension fraud, tax evasion and other fraudulent activities in the tune of N700 million,” he said.
He said that the defendant had an intent to embarrass the company, and gave information he knew was false to the EFCC and Mrs Patience Kalu, a public officer.
Deji said that the offence contravened Section 96 (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The vacation Judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, ordered that the defendant be defendant be remanded in a correctional facility.
Oshodi also ordered the EFCC to return the case file to the registry for reassignment.