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EFCC Arraigns Atoukaritou Ogbonna for BEC Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Atoukaritou Ogbonna (aka Atus) before Justice I. M Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a twelve-count charge, bordering on impersonation and obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

One of the counts read: “That you Atoukaritou Ogbonna (aka Atus) and others now at large, on or about the ninth day of January, 2015 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of $400,000 USD by falsely presenting to Combrex Corporation that the payment details of the business, Wealth Solutions, provided by you belong to MEHK PVT LTD, a pretext which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act”.

The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges preferred against him.

In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, C. O Oni prayed the court for a date for commencement of trial.

However, counsel to the defendant K. C. Ojiako informed the court of his bail application for the defendant. The application was not opposed by the prosecution.

Justice Sani granted the defendant bail in the sum of One Million Naira (N1,000,000.00) and one surety in like sum. The surety must have a landed property in Port Harcourt and must swear to an affidavit of means. He is also to deposit two recent passport photographs with the court. The defendant was remanded in EFCC custody and the matter adjourned to October 5, 2020 for commencement of trial.

Ogbonna’s travails began when the Commission received a report from the US Consulate General in Lagos alleging his involvement in business email compromise (BEC) and associated cyber intrusions. The defendant allegedly hacked into different accounts of individuals and companies in United States of America and other foreign countries.

Ogbonna is a native of Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State and managing director and chief executive of Patoni Digitech System.

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