Two fraudsters who obtained a cumulative sum of about $1 million from three foreign airlines through Business Email Compromise fraud have been convicted by a Lagos High Court.
The duo, Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, were sentenced to three years imprisonment by Justice O.A. Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday.
The convicts’ journey to prison began in September 2020, when operatives of the Commission, in the course of investigating a case of suspicious transactions and money laundering involving one Kehinde Adelakun, a convicted internet fraudster, stumbled on evidence linking Alvine International Resources Ventures, owned by the second defendant, Sikiru.
Investigation further revealed several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in both the First Bank and Sterling Bank accounts of the second defendant.
The second defendant, in his statement to the Commission, admitted that the majority of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant, Bakare, who confessed to being into Business Email Compromise (BEC) between 2009 and 2020 and also hacking into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.
The defendants were subsequently arraigned on Monday, March 22, 2021, on a five-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property, an offence contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
One of the counts read: “Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony to wit: retaining cumulative sum of about $1,000.000,00( One Million United States of America Dollars ) property of KLM, Turkish Airways and British Airways.”
Another count read: “Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with a dishonest intent, retained four -bedroom detached duplex situated at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki, Lagos.”
They pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.
Following their pleas, the prosecution counsel, I.A. Mohammed, informed the court that the defendants, through their counsel, Hycenth Udu, had entered a plea bargain with the prosecution and also reviewed the facts of the case.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Bakare, to three years imprisonment on counts one, two, three, four and five, with the option of a fine of N3 million.
The judge also convicted and sentenced the second defendant, Sikiru, to three years imprisonment on counts one and five with an option of a fine of N1 million.
Justice Taiwo also held that a five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos; a four-bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos; and another four bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos, recovered from the first defendant be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge also held that the sums of N196,741,216.82 recovered from the second defendant’s company, Alvine International Resources Ventures, domiciled in Sterling Bank; and N9,300,000 recovered from the second defendant’s account domiciled in Polaris Bank be forfeited to the Federal Government
Two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020, recovered from the first defendant were also ordered forfeited to the Federal Government.