A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has ordered the forfeiture of N530 million cash, cars, and three duplexes to the Federal Government by two cybercrime fraudsters – Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru. The court found the duo reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
The items include N196, 741, 216.82 and N7, 054, 852.01 in bank accounts; two vehicles (a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020) and three duplexes.
The two vehicles are valued at N30 million. The three duplexes are valued at N230 million.
According to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the convicts lost the items to the government having pleaded guilty before Justice O. A. Taiwo.
The statement reads: “Judgment day finally came for two Nigerian fraudsters, Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru as they lost cash and properties in upscale Lekki axis of Lagos to the Federal Government following their arrest and successful prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The forfeited assets include the sums of N196, 741, 216.82 and N7, 054, 852.01 in bank accounts; two vehicles, a Mercedes Benz E500 and a Toyota Hilux 2020 and five-bedroom duplex situated at Ibrahim Eleto Street, Osopa London, Lekki, Lagos, four-bedroom semi-detached duplex situated at Ologolo, Jakande, Lekki, Lagos and another four bedroom semi-detached duplex in Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos. The two vehicles are valued at N30 million while the three duplexes are valued at N230 million.
“The fraudsters gave up the assets as they could not give a satisfactory explanation of the funds and properties linked to them. They confessed to involvement in cybercrime. Bakare, 27, an indigene of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, claimed his forte is Business Email Compromise, and that he had hacked into different companies outside the shores of Nigeria.
“The scammers had been successful in their ignoble trade, earning a cumulative sum of $1 million USD from victims, including three foreign airlines through Business Email Compromise fraud. They laundered the proceeds of crime in acquiring properties, including real estate and luxury vehicles.
“But their comeuppance began in September 2020, when operatives of the commission, in the course of investigating a case of suspicious transactions and money laundering involving one Kehinde Adelakun, a convicted internet fraudster, stumbled on evidence linking Alvine International Resources Ventures, owned by the second defendant, Sikiru.
“The transaction that sets off the alarm bell was an inflow of N5 million in two tranches from Alvine International Resources Ventures.
“Further probing by the investigators, revealed several inflows suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in both the Sterling Bank and Polaris accounts of the second defendant.
The balance in both accounts: N196, 741,216.82 in Sterling Bank and N7, 054,852.01 in Polaris Bank, were swiftly placed on a Post No Debit, to forestall dissipation of the funds pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the case.
“The second defendant, in his statement to the commission, admitted that majority of the funds found in his account were from the first defendant, Bakare, who confessed to being into Business Email Compromise, BEC, between 2009 and 2020 and also hacking into the accounts of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.
“The fraudsters were subsequently arraigned before Justice O. A Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on 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.
The counts reads: “Tobilola Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired to commit felony to wit: retaining cumulative sum of about $1,000.000,00 (One million United States of America dollars) property of KLM, Turkish Airways and British Airways.
“Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare and Alimi Seun Sikiru, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with a dishonest intent, retained four-bedroom detached duplex situated at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki, Lagos.”
The statement said the two fraudsters pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.