Lagos-Nigeria-The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has uncovered how a jailed fraudster masterminded an internet scam worth $1 million from prison.
The suspected fraudster is Hope Olusegun Aroke, a convicted internet scammer who is currently serving 24 years jail term.
The Lagos Zonal office of the Commission said on Monday that it uncovered that Aroke a convicted internet fraudster currently serving a 24 years jail term was still in active communication with other high valued targets.
The EFCC, in a statement, said the high valued targets were currently being investigated by the Commission for various offenses relating to computer fraud and money laundering.
“Investigation revealed that he masterminded the commission of internet scam worth over $1,000,000 (One million Dollars) whilst serving his jail term,” the EFCC said.
He allegedly pulled the heist right from prison using a network of accomplices, some of them targets of fraud and money laundering investigation.
The lid on his latest fraud exploits from the bowels of the Maximum Correctional Centre was blown following intelligence received by the EFCC.
The immediate riddle that confronted the EFCC was how it was possible for the convict to continue to ply his ignoble trade of Internet fraud from prison.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the convict, against established standard practice, had access to internet and mobile phone in the Correctional Centre where he is supposed to be serving his jail term.
Even more puzzling was the finding that Aroke got himself admitted to the Nigeria Police Hospital, Falomo, Lagos for an undisclosed ailment and from the hospital, he would move out to lodge in hotels, meet with his wife and two children and attend other social functions.
The circumstance of his admission into the hospital and those who aided his movement from the hospital to hotels and other social engagements, is already being investigated by the EFCC.
For a felon supposedly serving a jail term, investigation revealed that Aroke used a fictitious name, Akinwunmi Sorinmade, to open two accounts with First Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He also bought a property at Fountain Spring Estate, Lekki Lagos in 2018 for N22 million and a Lexus RX 350 2018 model registered in his wife’s name, Maria Jennifer Aroke.
The convict was also in possession of his wife’s bank account token in prison, which he used to freely transfer funds.
Further investigation revealed that, while his trial was ongoing in 2015, Aroke bought a four bedroom duplex at Plot 12, Deji Fadoju Street, Megamounds Estate Lekki County Homes , Lekki for N48 million.
Aroje was one of two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC in the closing weeks of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos following a tip-off. The indigene of Okene, Kogi State had claimed to be a student of Computer Science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia. But the Commission’s investigation fingered him as the arrow head of an intricate web of internet fraud scheme that traverse two continents.
When Aroke was arrested, a search conducted by EFCC operatives on his apartment led to the recovery of several items such as laptops, iPad, traveling documents, cheque books, flash drives, internet modem, and three exotic cars – a Mercedes Benz Jeep, One 4Matic Mercedes Benz Car and a Range Rover Sport SUV.
He was eventually convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer and forgery. He was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on each of the two counts.
Is Godwin Emefiele, the suspended CBN Governor, a saboteur? Emma Agu asks.
I recently expressed my concerns about the arrest and subsequent detention of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank. It is important to note that my views on this matter are objective and unbiased.
The Department of State Services (D.S.S) has officially charged Emefiele with various offenses, including illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, criminal breach of trust, incitement to violence, criminal misappropriation of public funds, economic sabotage, economic crimes of national security significance, and undermining security.
However, despite being granted bail by the court, there were incidents where security operatives openly fought to re-arrest him. Due to my history of speaking out against our nation’s problems for many years, I refrained from writing about it as it felt futile. Speaking out on such matters exposes one to unnecessary security risks. Nevertheless, I am compelled to share a few words due to this case’s circumstances.
During former President Buhari’s first term in office, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and released on bail but later re-arrested in an attempt by the government at that time (which failed to present a solid case)to diminish his influence. The government failed hopelessly over and over again to prove a case against him as they held him indefinitely.
What the government does to Nnamdi Kanu differs significantly from my understanding of justice. Government security operatives are holding Nnamdi Kanu inhumanely. During my last visit to Abuja when his brother, wife, and lawyer paid me a visit, I was informed about Nnamdi Kanu’s inhumane conditions. While I may have had conflicts with Nnamdi Kanu before, the government has yet to prove its case against him; he should be released. Igboland needs peace. The man should be allowed back home unless the Federal Government is content with the prevailing security situation in Igboland.
People should not be detained indefinitely; they should only be charged when sufficient evidence exists for a successful prosecution. It is crucial to treat individuals as human beings regardless of their circumstances. This viewpoint would apply equally if anyone were detained for an extended period without any clear conclusion. The unnecessary chaos involving Nigerian security forces, the executive, and judiciary branches makes Nigeria look like a Banana Republic, and we can do better.
While I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal analysis on this matter, considering the charges and the unfolding drama, this case presents significant challenges for the government in obtaining a guilty verdict. Additionally, one might question whether he would have been detained if there had been no difficulties for Nigerians in obtaining new Naira notes.
While many of my followers may believe he deserves punishment, I kindly ask you to view this matter objectively. Many people think Bola Tinubu wants to punish him because he was against his candidacy. We are watching closely. The charges against the man might arise from a personal vendetta, suggesting there is more to this situation than meets the eye. The available information accessible to the public is limited, and everyone must pay attention.
Emma Agu, alias AlahBama, writes from New York City.
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The young woman, who is said to be a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, was stripped naked by neighbours of the victim who caught her trying to skip the fence with a machete.
The Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Ogbeche-Macdon confirmed the victim was the alleged murderer’s lover.
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The Senior Pastor, of the church, Paul Adefarasin, urged Nigerians to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
“Yesterday (Friday), I received the rude and shocking news of someone deeply dear to me and all of the HOTR family. The passing of Pastor Yinka Akinbami has become most painful because if there truly were good men, he was certainly one. To my brother, sleep well till we meet to part no more.
“Family, kindly allow me to solicit your intercession for his dear wife of over 30 years; Pastor Tolu, his children, his children-in-law, and grandchildren. We can only at best imagine how much pain they are feeling. We share the pain of his loss but they will feel it a lot more.
“It’s important to remind the community about the deadly nature of the COVID-19 and its mutant virus strains. Please do your part by following all the recommended precautions. That way, you are able to protect yourself and others who become proximal to you. God bless and keep us all”, Adefarasin Tweeted.
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