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Internet fraudster sentenced to prison, fined for disguising as English citizen

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OKHIEMWEN Roland Ekata, also known as Zamani Baron Wellington, has been convicted of intent to defraud and impersonation by the Federal High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, on Monday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which handled the prosecution, disclosed this through a press release made public the same day. The release was signed by Tony Orilade, the agency’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity.

The agency established that Ekata’s actions violated Section 484 of the Criminal Code Act; and the defendant had pleaded guilty to the amended one-count charge.

“That you Okhiemwen Roland Ekata ‘M’ aka Zamani, Baron Wellington,” read the charge, “on or about the 3rd day of June 2015 at Benin City,  Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being a citizen of Nigeria, with intent to defraud, you falsely represented yourself as Molton Cole, a citizen of England, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 484 of the Criminal Code Act  Cap, C38 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2004, and punishable under Section 484 of the same Act.”

Fredrick Dibang, the prosecution counsel, and Osama Idehen, the defence lawyer, agreed to a plea bargain arrangement; and based on it the defendant was sentenced to a year imprisonment. The court also set a fine to the N250,000.

The judge, A.A. Demi-Ajayi, also ordered for the forfeiture of an HP Pavilion laptop used by the defendant in connection with the offence.

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“Ekata’s journey to prison began when he falsely represented himself as Molton Cole, a citizen of England, with the intent to defraud unsuspecting victims,” Orilade said.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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