By Davies Iheamnachor & Chioma Onuegbu
PORT HARCOURT— The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Rivers State, said its investigations have shown that some suspected cyber criminals funded the election of some prominent Nigerian politicians into political offices in the just concluded general election in the country.
The Port Harcourt Zonal Head of EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, disclosed this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, while addressing newsmen on the collaboration between the commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, in the fight against local and foreign fraudsters.
The commission also disclosed that between January and August this year, it secured 149 convictions in internet and oil theft cases.
Also, the Uyo zonal office of the EFCC said it arrested no fewer than 60 internet fraudsters and secured 37 convictions since its inception in Akwa Ibom State.
Zonal head of the commission in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Garba Dugum, made the disclosure, yesterday, while briefing newsmen on the success recorded through collaboration between the commission and FBI, in the fight against cyber crimes.
Meanwhile, Bawa noted that the zone had been working on 13 of the suspects on the FBI watch list, stating that two of the suspects, Ogbonnah Atoukaritou, formerly based in London and Alpha Chidi Egbeonu, formerly based in Japan, had been arrested.
He said: “We are aware of the economic, social and cultural negative consequences of these crimes. They tarnish our image, nationally and internationally, our youths are dropping out of school, they are killing genuine businesses and recent findings indicate that they are sponsoring politicians into elective offices.
“The Port Harcourt’s zonal office of EFCC is working on 13 different cases of cybercrimes in collaboration with the FBI.
“Our solo efforts as a zone on cyber-crime related cases indicate 105 arrests made, 32 convictions secured, 41 cases under prosecution and additional 63 cases under investigation.”
On oil theft and illegal dealing in petroleum products, Bawa disclosed that the zone had secured conviction of 149 oil thieves within eight months.
On his part, Dugum, who spoke through the deputy zonal head, Alex Ebbah, said upon receiving the directives of the acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, the zone launched an independent raid against the fraudsters.
He added:“Our effort in this regards has recorded tremendous success, which resulted in over 60 arrests,37 convictions and recovery of a number of exotic cars and property suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of the crimes.”