Two Nigerian fraudsters have been jailed for a total of 37 years following their conviction for involvement in what has been described as the biggest scam in the West African Country’s history. Emmanuel Nwude was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and Nzeribe Okoli to 12 years imprisonment after they plead guilty to conspiring to defraud a Brazilian bank of $242m (Â£141m). The duo will also forfeit $121.5m in compensation to victims of their scam, which resulted in the collapse of Sao Paolo-based Banco Noroeste.
A third fraudster, Amaka Anajemba, who was jailed for two and a half years after agreeing to pay $48.5m in compensation. The crooks milked millions from staff at the Banco Noroeste by offering huge commissions in return for brokering a non-existent construction contract to build an airport in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
“The activities of the accused persons not only led to the collapse of a bank in a foreign country, but also brought miseries to many innocent people,” said Justice Joseph Oyewole, Reuters reports. The convictions are the first by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), established two years ago to combat the country’s burgeoning trade in email scams.
EFCC said it has arrested more than 200 email scam suspects since 2003, secured a dozen convictions and confiscated property worth $200m.