The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that it has concluded plans to begin a crackdown on owners and managers running hotel businesses for accepting internet fraudsters as guests who turn their facilities to hideouts and venues for duping unsuspecting foreigners.
The anti-graft agency noted that hotel owners, as well as managers, who allow cybercriminals commonly referred to as yahoo boys, to check into their facilities, would be prosecuted and jailed for aiding and abetting criminality through their services.
The EFCC Head, Media, and Publicity, Wilson Uwajaren, hinted that hoteliers risk a five-year jail term for allowing cyber-fraudsters to lodge in their hotels and use their facilities safe haven for dubious businesses across the country.
Uwajaren, through a statement made available to newsmen, said that hoteliers would be contravening section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act should they continue to allow Yahoo Boys check into their hotels.
According to him, the hotel owners perhaps are ignorant of the fact that they could become an accomplice and liable for allowing their premises to be used for cybercrime, in contravention of section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.
“The section provides that a person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this act is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years without the option of a fine,” the statement said.
The anti-graft agency noted that the clarification for hotel owners and managers followed media reports alleging that an EFCC team infringed on some people’s human rights by seizing a Lagos hotel access card and barged into guests’ rooms in an overnight raid.
“Many guests, including couples, were passing the night at the mid-size hotel when the agents broke in at about 4:00 a.m. Some of them said they were naked under the duvet during the raid, adding that they were not even allowed to dress up before being interrogated by the officers, who said they were on a manhunt for suspected Internet fraudsters,” the report read.
But, explaining the rationale behind the raid, the EFCC said that what played out during the raid was a regular antic used by the internet fraudsters in buying time to destroy incriminating items in their devices before arrest.
“In the course of the operation, the (EFCC) operatives encountered women in some of the rooms who pleaded nudity to stop them from arresting their targets. This has lately become the antics of cyber fraudsters who procure ladies to plead nudity as a decoy, to allow their consort destroy incriminating items in their devices before the arrest,” the statement added.