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Two Nigerian fraudsters who obtained about $1 million from three foreign airlines through Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud have been convicted.

Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru were sentenced to three years imprisonment by Justice O. A. Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.

In September 2020, while investigating a case of suspicious transactions and money laundering involving Kehinde Adelakun, a convicted internet fraudster, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stumbled on evidence linking Alvine International Resources Ventures, owned by Sikiru.

Several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities were found in both the First Bank and Sterling Bank accounts of the Sikiru, the second defendant.

Sikiru, in his statement, admitted that the majority of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant, Bakare, who confessed to being into BEC between 2009 and 2020 and also hacking into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.

The duo was subsequently arraigned on Monday, March 22, 2021, on a five-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and retaining stolen property, an offence contrary to Sections 411 and 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

Bakare and Sikiru were also charged with dishonest intent for retaining a four-bedroom detached duplex situated at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki, Lagos.

The defendants pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.

The prosecution counsel, I. A. Mohammed, informed the court that their counsel, Hycenth Udu, had entered a plea bargain with the prosecution.

Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Bakare, to three years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the option of a fine of N3 million.

The Judge also convicted and sentenced the second defendant, Sikiru, to three years imprisonment on counts 1 and 5 with an option of a fine of N1million.

Justice Taiwo held that the five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eletu Street, Osapa London, Lekki; four bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki; and another four bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, recovered from the first defendant be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Judge also held that N196,741,216 recovered from the second defendant’s company, Alvine International Resources Ventures account domiciled in Sterling Bank and N9,300,000 recovered from the second defendant’s account domiciled in Polaris Bank be forfeited to the Federal Government

Two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020, recovered from the first defendant were also ordered forfeited to the Federal Government.