By Evelyn Usman
An attempt by a cybercrime suspect to allegedly bribe police detectives attached to the Akwa Ibom State command, with N1.9 million to turn the investigation in his favour has been frustrated, following refusal by the detectives to accept the offer.
The suspect, Edet Okpo, is facing a six-count charge bothering on cybercrime, conspiracy, criminal defamation of character among other related offences, at the Federal High Court, Calabar Division, Cross River State.
Okpo, 37, was alleged to have withdrawn the amount offered to the detectives from the Uyo branch of one of the first generation banks.
He was charged alongside his 48-year-old sister, Mary Okon Okwong, including Inyene Udo, 25 and others said to be at large.
The suspects were alleged to have demanded N2 million from Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Commodore Duja Efedua,rtd, through a WhatsApp conversation, using a phone line registered with a fake identity. They allegedly threatened to publish allegation of a sex scandal on him, if he failed to pay.
The charge sheet with number FHC/CA/51/2020, filed by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Mohammed, read: “The Inspector General of Police charges you, Edet Okpo, Mary Okon Okwong, Inyene Udo and others now at large as follows:
“That you Edet Okpo, Mary Okon Okwong, Inyene Udo and others now at large between May 2020 to June 2020 at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, within the judicial division of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: duty to furnish customer’s name, the publication of defamatory matters and computer fraud and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, CAP A6 Vol. 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,2006.
“That between May 2020 to June 2020 at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, you did with intent to deceive, supplied false information to procure the registration of MTN sim card number 08062119448 with fake name of Ndanti Anthony while bearing the picture and fingerprint of Inyene Udo with the intention to conceal information and your true identity as required by Section 12 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12(1)(2)&b of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act CAP A6 Vol.1.
“That on the 27th day of June 2020, you did intentionally senf a WhatsApp message through GSM number 08036119448 bearing Mr Ndanti Anthony to Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd) the Rector and Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Academy of Nigeria titled ROT IN MAN ORON…..As Rector Runs Institution as Personal Estate …. Fingered in Sexual Scandal by Ndanti Anthony and Ikenna Obasi for the purpose of demanding the sum of N200,000,000 (two hundred million naira) from the Rector and causing him needless anxiety and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 24(1)(b) of the cybercrime Prevention Act.”
At the court sitting, one of the defence counsels had deposed to an affidavit in the application for bail, alleging that the Police forced the accused at gunpoint to withdraw the N2m from an Automated Teller Machine, ATM.
But the prosecuting counsel, Alexandra Ewa, kicked against the request for bail, on the grounds that fresh issues requiring a response from the police emanated from the amended bail request, informing the court that the accused had earlier been granted administrative bail before his rearrest.
The presiding judge, Justice Simon Amobeda adjourned the matter to Wednesday, November 25, 2020, to continue hearing the application for bail.