BY EMEKA EJERE
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has secured 257 convictions across various courts in Lagos State in the past year.
The Zonal Head of the EFCC Lagos Office, Muhammed Rabo, who revealed this while giving an update on the ongoing fight against corruption in the state also revealed that the agency recovered over N17 billion naira in local and foreign currencies between the period which covers between May 2019 and early June 2020.
Rabo gave a breakdown of the monies recovered, which included (N14,099,952,688.22, $5,723,042 (about N2.2 million), and €31,500 (about N13.8 million).
He disclosed that the conviction included those involving politically exposed persons, adding that the zone had secured the forfeiture of 32 properties out of the 61 recovered.
“Also, from May 2019 till date, the zone has arrested 1,444 suspects, filed 585 cases in various courts and arraigned over 300, including Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, and his conspirator, Hamza Khoudeih, before a Federal High Court in Lagos allegedly for various criminal offences.
“We also have several ongoing high-profile cases before the Federal High Courts, Ikoyi and the State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos,“ he was quoted as saying in a statement on Thursday by the zonal office’s spokesperson, Ayo Oyewole.
According to the agency’s zonal head, the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, will continue to tighten the noose around the necks of the corrupt in the society and take the fight to their doorsteps through the instrumentality of the law.
He stressed that the zone would not relax its independently-launched intensive actions against internet fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo, which began before the collaborative operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) tagged “Operation Rewired” in 2019.
Rabo said, “In fact, we are prepared, more than ever before, for more robust collaboration with the FBI this year.
“It will be recalled that the collaboration, last year, led to the arrest of many fraudsters in different parts of the state, some of whom are being prosecuted in courts already.”
The Lagos zonal head, therefore, warned perpetrators of computer-related frauds to desist from the undisciplined acts, saying the EFCC has not gone to sleep.
He also decried the activities of impostors who have been found to be swindling unsuspecting members of the society of their assets and properties.
“We are aware, through intelligence gathering, that some unscrupulous elements are in the habit of using the names of prominent citizens to obtain money from unsuspecting members of the society.
“The Commission frowns on this criminal activity. Let me state, without any equivocation, that anyone caught in the act should be ready to face the consequences of his or her action before the court of competent jurisdiction,” Rabo warned.