Justice I.M. Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced two false whistleblowers: Dominic Okem and Chukwunonso Igweonu, to two months imprisonment each for conspiracy and giving misleading and false information.
They were convicted on March 4 after pleading “guilty” to two- count charges bordering on giving false information, following their arraignment by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
One of the charges read: “That you Dominic Okem and Chukwunonso Igweonu on or about the 22nd Day of January, 2021 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire between yourselves to give false information to officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to wilt: huge fund were found at Enu/Akwu Street, Federal Housing Estate, in Calabar Cross Rivers State, which information turned out to be false, untrue/misleading and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 39 (2)(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.”
Based on their “guilty” plea, prosecution counsel, F.O. Amama, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly. The defence counsel. E. Wanogho however, prayed the court not to raise its hammer too hard as the defendants were actually carrying out their civic responsibilities in line with the whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government. He regretted that the effort to expose the proceeds of crime turned out otherwise
In his judgment, Justice Sani found Okem and Igweonu guilty as charged and convicted and sentenced them to two months imprisonment, with an option of a fine of N100,000 each.
The convicts got into trouble when they misinformed the EFCC that they saw a huge sum of money in a house, located at Enu-Aqua in Cross River State. However, when operatives of the Commission executed a search warrant on the said property, nothing incriminating was found.