From fame to shame: Bobrisky, and nine other celebrities caged by EFCC

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 Henry Okonkwo, in this report, takes a look at the implications of the recent trial,  conviction and sentence of Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, and  of others in the campaign against the abuse of Nigeria’s currency.

Celebrity lifestyle is mostly perceived to be filled with so much razzle-dazzle, razzmatazz, fame and fortune. And just as honey attracts bees, their status gets them attraction from the public. But sometimes, their prominence and wealth also catch the attention of the law. Nigeria’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has shown it is never star-struck to grant special treatment to celebrities. From high-profile cases to unexpected run-ins, the EFCC has had a surprising number of high-profile arrests and invites in the last few years. From singers, actors, social media celebrities, and comedians, the agency has demonstrated that it is not here to have fun with anyone, regardless of their social level.

 

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In no particular other, AF24NEWS takes a glimpse into some of the tumultuous encounters between our stars and the law enforcement agency, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

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  • Bobrisky

Popular Nigerian social media personality, Idris Okuneye, known as Bobrisky, fell into the EFCC net after he was arrested in Lagos on March 24th, 2024. He was subsequently arraigned before a Federal High Court over charges of naira abuse and of money laundering. Bobrisky pleaded guilty to charges of “spraying” a total of N490,000 at social events. On April 12th, he was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail with no option of a fine.

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  • Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin

Nollywood actress, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, suffered the EFCC backlash after she got convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment also for spraying and stepping on Naira notes at a social event in Lagos. Omoseyin was arraigned on February 13, 2023, and was convicted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, February 1, 2024. The actress was however sentenced with an option of N300,000 fine to be paid into the consolidated revenue account of the federation.

 

 

 

 

  • Sallipoppi

Popular musician, Crown Uzama a.k.a ShalliPopi around mid-2023 got convicted for internet fraud charges proffered by the Kaduna Zonal Command of the EFCC. Shallipopi alongside five others Joel Kator (aka Alfred Hudson), AbdulAzeez Suleiman Temidayo (aka Miss Katie Official), Favour Chidiogo Emmanuel (aka Kate Banks), John Joseph (aka Avail Hollywood) and Bethel Makuochukwu (aka Violetqmartinez) all pleaded guilty to the charges and got sentenced to two years imprisonment each with the option of fines.

 

  • Adeherself

Popular skit maker and social media influencer, Adedamola Adewale a.k.a

@adeherself got busted by the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal Office in February 2023. According to the anti-graft agency, Adeherself was arrested along with four others over their alleged involvement in a N7.9 million internet fraud. EFCC revealed that Adeherself confessed to being a ‘picker’ in cybercrimes.

She was brought before Justice Mojisola Dada on three counts of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences, attempt to obtain money by false pretences, and retention of proceeds of criminal conduct.

The case was adjourned till April 18 for the commencement of trial, but the outcome remains unclear.

However, in September, EFCC, named Adeherself as a ‘strategic partner’ in their awareness drive at National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp, to steer youths away from cybercrimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Obi Cubana

 

The EFCC summoned Obinna Iyiegbu a.k.a. Obi Cubana, a well-known businessman and socialite, for questioning on November 1, 2021. According to reports, the Anambra-born tycoon was questioned by the EFCC’s Wuse Zone 6 office about alleged money laundering and tax fraud. He was invited by the agency about two weeks before showing up. He was later released, after interrogations and it is unclear what transpired and if Obi Cubana has any case to answer.

 

  • Naira Marley and Zlatan

When their popular single, Am I a Yahoo Boy, was released in 2019, the EFCC detained Naira Marley, Zlatan Ibile, and three others. The contentious song landed the musicians in the agency’s crosshairs; Zlatan and others were released after a few days in EFCC cell, but Naira Marley was released on bail after arraignment before the Justice Nicholas Oweiboo of the Lagos Federal High Court.

However, early this year, the criminal trial was stalled following a pending application for fiat before the Chief Judge (CJ) of the court. According to the EFCC, the fiat was to enable the former judge – Justice Oweiboo, transferred out of the Lagos division of the court, to continue with the trial.

Thus, the court consequently, adjourned the case until May 30 2024.

 

 

Mompha

 

Ismaila Mustapha a.k.a. Mompha, a social media personality, was detained by the EFCC for allegedly laundering over N14 billion in 2019. After Mompha and his accomplice were apprehended, Ibrahim Magu, the former EFCC chairman, made the revelation. He also disclosed that the Nigerian socialite had 51 bank accounts. EFCC also accused Mompha of perpetrating fraud under the guise of being a Bureau de Change operator, an allegation the Instagram personality has continually denied. Mompha was granted bail. Both parties are presently involved in long long-drawn legal tussle.

 

  • Pankeeroy

 

Social media comedian and content creator, Oliver Nwagbo, aka Pankeeroy, was arrested by the EFCC on April 21, 2021, over alleged involvement in cyber fraud. The skit maker during an interview he granted few weeks after the raid, disclosed that he was locked for three days in the EFCC dungeon. He declared his innocence, adding that several days after his arrest, the EFCC was yet to file any charge against him. “I had actually gone to James Court for an intending shoot for a skit. I was asleep when the serviced apartment was raided by the EFCC in the middle of the night. My three-day experience in EFCC custody is an experience I would never forget,” Pankeeroy said.

 

  • Hushpuppi

 

Although Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency did not spearhead the clampdown that led to the arrest and conviction of Ramoni Igbalode, popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi, the social media sensation, it was however involved in gathering evidence that helped International Police (Interpol) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in the prosecution of their case. Prior to Hushpuppi’s arrest on June 10, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates, EFCC had early in the year declared him wanted for cases bordering on money laundering, cybercrime, and connection with a $35million ventilator scam.

 

 

With the arraignment and trial of these celebrities, it is expected that the Nigerian scene would be sanitised and it would help curb excesses of those who abuse the country’s currency.

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