From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has remanded one Samuel Francis ( alias Mark Langley) in prison custody over alleged involvement in internet fraud.
The accused facing three counts of impersonation and possession of fake documents, was arraigned on Wednesday, by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Part of the counts read: “That you, Samuel Francis on or about the 1st November, 2019 at Port Harcourt Rivers State, within the Jurisdiction of this honourable Court with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate the commission of crime did falsely presented yourself to one David Anthony Lucky Bailey as Mark Longely, a Forex Trader from United States of America contrary to Section 22 (3) of the Cybercrime Prohibition Prevention etc Act 2015”.
The EFCC earlier investigation revealed that Francis operates several email accounts (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org), which he use to alleged defraud his victims.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. In view of the plea, prosecuting counsel, U. D Asue-Izibe prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
However, defence counsel A. U Ugorji asked for a short adjournment to enable him file an application for the bail of the defendant.
Reacting on the arguments by the both counsel, the trial Judge, Justice M. L. Abubakar ordered that the defendant be remanded in the Correctional Centre and adjourned the matter till February 27, 2020 for consideration of bail application.
Francis’s trouble started when the Commission received actionable intelligence on his alleged involvement in internet fraud. After close surveillance, operatives of the Commission arrested the defendant at Worlu Street , Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.