Hotel owners across the country, have been warned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), to stop ‘hiding’ internet fraudsters, a.k.a ‘yahoo boys’ in their hotels.
EFCC Ibadan Zonal Command, gave the warning on Tuesday September 14, during an operation in the Oyo State capital that led to the arrest of 56 suspected internet fraudsters both in Abeokuta and in Ibadan.
In a Statement issued by the Commission, following the arrest, it is revealed that,
“The Commission has observed a worrying pattern of cold complicity by hospitality entrepreneurs who appear to be hands-in-gloves with suspected fraudsters by housing them over long spells and making internet facilities available to them.
“… the action of the hoteliers amounts to deliberate sabotage and obstruction of law enforcement officers, an offence punishable by Section 38 (2) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
“While the argument is being made in certain quarters that hoteliers as business people have no means of determining who a fraudster is before allowing them to lodge in their facilities, that position runs counter to the law.
“Section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud And Other Related Offences Act, 2006, provides for a prison term of between five (5) and 15 years without option of fine, for any person who permits his premises to be used for any offence under the Act.
The Statement also stated that,
“EFCC will therefore not tolerate situations where hotel owners or managers, not only permit fraudsters to use their facilities, but also deliberately shield them from arrest by frustrating law enforcement on such premises.
It is further affirmed in the Statement that,
“If the hoteliers are not enablers of the alleged crimes, as some have demonstrated by offering information to the Commission, they are under obligation to cooperate with law enforcement officers carrying out their lawful duties. To act otherwise would be tantamount to willingly becoming enablers to fraud.
Names of the ‘yahoo boys’ apprehended at different popular hotels in the ancient city and in Abeokuta, Ogun State, were then, released by the Commission.
The operation was said to be based on intelligence reports followed by weeks of surveillance in the metropolis of interest.
Hotels owners, where the ‘scammers’ were arrested, were also accused of trying various antics, in the bid to shield the fraudsters from being arrested, but for the professionalism of the operatives of the Crimes Commission, who beat them to it, they would have probably, succeded.
EFCC, Ibadan Command, confirmed,
“Meanwhile, ten exotic cars, dozens of mobile phones, laptops and several incriminating documents were recovered from the suspected fraudsters… “They will be arraigned in court as soon as the investigation is concluded.”