The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan zonal office, on Monday arraigned two persons for allegedly defrauding one Dele Akinbuluma, a lecturer and doctoral student of the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan.
The suspects, Augustine Ekeson and Obinna Ureahl, were brought before Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, on three counts bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretences.
In a petition to the commission dated February 17, 2016, Akinbuluma detailed how the duo conspired to defraud him of the sum N875,490 in December 2015.
The sum was the naira equivalent of $4,169 for consumables needed for a six-month bench space research that 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 the premier university for the research work, said he had been in constant communication with the leadership of the centre before the accused hacked into his email account and took advantage of that to dupe him.
After hijacking the account, the accused allegedly 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, is contrary to sections 1 (1)(b), 6 and 8 (b) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Related Offences Act, 2006, and Section 22 (4)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.
When the charges were read to them, the accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, Babatunde Sonoiki, prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand the defendants in prison.
The court adjourned the case till June 20 for trial and ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.