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‘Army officer’ jailed 8 years for fraud, impersonation in Akwa Ibom

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Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday, sentenced Henry Mfon Asuquo, a military impersonator, to eight years imprisonment.

Asuquo was charged on a two-count charge of impersonation and cybercrime brought against him by the Uyo Zonal Office of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Asuquo was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on January 3, 2019, at Ayara Street, Nung Udo in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of the state following a petition by one Itoro Tom.

Itoro, the petitioner had alleged that Asuquo swapped her Subscriber Identification Module, SIM card, and fraudulently withdrew N700,000 from her account domiciled at a new generation bank.

In a statement released by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, he said an investigation into the matter revealed that the convict paraded himself as a military officer and in that capacity, he was going about intimidating and defrauding unsuspecting victims of their hard-earned money.

According to the EFCC spokesperson, a search executed in his apartment upon arrest led to the recovery of military uniforms, boots, and bulletproof jackets.

He was subsequently arraigned on March 27, 2019, on a two-count charge bordering on fraud, impersonation and cybercrime, to which he pleaded “not guilty”.

In the course of trial, counsel to the EFCC, Adebayo Soares, presented two witnesses; Tom Itoro Edet (PW1- the complainant) and Suleiman Abba (PW2 – an operative of the Commission).

Some of the exhibits tendered and admitted in evidence include: military kits containing several military shirts and trousers, Techno Spark 3 phone belonging to the convict and correspondences from the Nigerian Army and First City Monument Bank, FCMB.

However, the trial took a new turn on March 5, 2021 when the defence counsel, Dennis Adiaka informed the court of the convict’s intention to change his plea.

The application was granted and the fake officer, Asuquo pleaded “guilty” to the charge against him and the court, thereafter found him guilty and adjourned his sentencing till today, Wednesday March 24, 2021,” Uwujaren’s statement read.

Delivering judgment in the case Justice Agatha sentenced Asuquo to four years imprisonment on each of the two counts preferred against him to run concurrently without the option of a fine. The judge also ordered the convict to pay his victim N600,000 as restitution before he could be released from prison.

In addition, the court ordered the forfeiture of the items used in the commission of the crime, which were recovered from the convict at the point of arrest to the Federal Government.

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