A Federal High Court in Akwa Ibom State has sentenced one Nwalozie Onyebuchi to a three-year jail term for parading himself as Dr. Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a count of impersonation and obtaining N4.5m under false pretense.
Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said Onyebuchi was arrested on December 6, 2019.
He said, “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 pretense and fraudulent extortions were printed from his laptop which he also admitted, emanated from him.
“Investigation also revealed that the convict’s specialty was Business Email Compromise, BEC, and his modus operandi involved searching for email addresses via Google search and sending convincing emails to his victims.
“He also confessed to have used a particular email address, (email@example.com) purportedly belonging to the C.B.N governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele in defrauding one Omar Deep, who thought he was actually dealing with the real C.B.N Governor.”
Onyebuchi pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge against him.
The charge read: “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.”
While delivering judgement, Justice Agatha Okeke said the evidence presented by the prosecution was satisfactory and proved the defendant was guilty.
She said, “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.”