Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, May 11, 2023, convicted and sentenced one Abdulmalik Abdullateef to one-year imprisonment for stealing.

The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had, on April 27, 2023, arraigned 21-year-old Abdullateef on a one-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of N10m, an offence contrary to Section 278 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria 2011.

The one-count charge reads: “Abdulmalik Abdullateef, between 1st day of January 2023 and the 6th day of January 2023 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly stole and converted to your own use the aggregate sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira only), property of Fincra Technologies Limited."

He pleaded "guilty" to the charge.

At today's proceedings, counsel for the EFCC, S.O. Daji, called a prosecution witness, Damilare Adeosun, an operative of the EFCC, through whom a review of the facts against the defendant was given.

Adeosun told the court that the EFCC received a petition from one Fincra Technology Limited, a firm licensed to carry out financial solution services to customers.

"They reported that their system was compromised by cybercriminals, leading to the loss of about N260 million," he said.

According to him, investigations revealed that the defendant was a recipient "and he was subsequently picked up from his hideout in Kaduna and brought to the Lagos office for further investigation.”

The witness testified further that the defendant admitted to have benefited N10 million.

"He confessed that he got a link on a WhatsApp group, where he had created a profile and made multiple deposits that got doubled and credited to his bank account," he said.

He also told the court that, “ Upon his arrest, two iPhone 12 Pro and an iPhone 11 Pro were recovered from him”, being proceeds of the crime.

The prosecution then tendered, in evidence, the statements made by the defendant; the petition received by the EFCC; various correspondences with banks, where the money was transferred to, and the manager's cheques totalling N611,500.00 issued by the defendant.

They were all admitted in evidence against him, as there was no objection by the defence counsel, M.A. Zulobi.

Abdulmalik, who was given an opportunity to address the court, pleaded for mercy and for a second chance.

The defendant, who claimed to have seen the link in a WhatsApp group, told the court that he had now learnt his lessons.

Justice Abike-Fadipe reprimanded the defendant, who also said that he recently got admission into a university in Kaduna.

The Judge convicted him as charged and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment, with an option of 200 hours community service.

He was also ordered to forfeit the three iPhones as well as the money recovered from him.


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