JUSTICE M. B. Idris of Federal High Court, Nyanya, Abuja, on Tuesday struck out a plea bargain agreement between a defendant, Favour Ebebeinwe Ogagaoghene and the prosecution, convicting him as an internet fraudster with a three years prison sentence without an option of fine.
Ogagaoghene was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), for defrauding one Patricia Johnson, a United States of America citizen of the sum of $11,450, (Eleven Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty, US Dollars).
He was convicted after he pleaded guilty to one-count charge.
Trouble started for the convict following a petition, dated March 12, 2019 by his US victim, Patricia Johnson, who complained that the convict deceitfully posed in the social media as American Gareth Wilcoxon, and professed love to her and in the process duped her of the sum.
The convict admitted to the crime in the course of investigation, agreeing that he fraudulently obtained the sum of $11,450, (Eleven Thousand, four hundred and fifty US Dollars) from the victim.
The one-count charge reads: “That you Favour Ebebeinwe Ogagaoghene, sometime in 2017, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did fraudulently induce one Patricia Johnson, a citizen of the United States of America to deliver the sum of $11,450 (Eleven Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty US Dollars) only, which when converted to naira amounted to N4,007,500 (Four Million, Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) to you which she would not have done but for your deceit by posing as Gareth Wilcoxon, an American via, your e-mail address. You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320[a]and punishable under Section 322 of the Penal Code cap 532 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
The prosecution counsel, Ashibi Amedu, represented by Geraldine Ofulue, in view of the defendant’s guilty plea, urged the court to convict and sentence him accordingly, in line with a plea bargain he entered with the EFCC.
Counsel to the defendant, A. A. Unuafe, agreed with the prosecution that there was a plea bargain, to which both parties agreed to.
However, Justice Idris refused the plea bargain agreement, stating that he has discretional powers of the court to deliver the judgement by applying the Cybercrime Laws.
At this point, the defence counsel requested to withdraw the plea bargain agreement as well as the case from Justice Idris’ court to another court and judge, but the judge rejected the request and went ahead to deliver his judgement, sentencing the defendant to three years imprisonment without an option fine.