The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan zonal office, on Monday June 3, arraigned two persons for allegedly defrauding a lecturer at the University of Ibadan (UI).
The suspects – Augustine Ekeson and Obinna Ureahl – were brought before Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.
In a petition to the Commission, dated February 17, 2016, the lecturer, Akinbuluma Mobolade Dele, who is also a PhD student in the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, detailed how the duo allegedly conspired to defraud him of a sum of N875,490.00 in December 2015.
The sum was the Naira equivalent of $4,169 Akinbuluma needed in a six-month bench space research he was to undertake at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya as part of his doctoral programme.
Akinbuluma, who got a grant from his university for the research work, said he had been in constant communication with the leadership of the Kenyan centre before the suspects hacked into his email account and took advantage of the strain to dupe him.
He said after hijacking the account, one of the accused persons presented themselves as Prof Baldwyn Tonto, Akinbuluma’s supposed supervisor at the centre, and demanded that he paid the naira equivalent of the due sum to a colleague’s Nigerian bank account for transmission to the centre’s account in Kenya.
The offence, according to the charge sheet, was contrary to Section 1 (1)(b), section 6 and 8 (b) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and Section 22 (4)(a) of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act 2015.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. They were arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining money under false pretence.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, Babatunde Sonoiki, prayed the court for a trial date and the order to remand the defendants in prison custody.
The court adjourned the case to June 20 for trial and ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.