According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), landlords and their agents who rented out their properties to internet fraudsters known as “Yahoo Boys” would be detained and prosecuted.
At a Wednesday Twitter event, Sylvania Tahir, the legal director of the EFCC, revealed the information. Director’s assistant Cosmos Ugwu joined him.
According to Section 3 of the Advance State Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offenses Act 2003, anyone who intentionally allows fraudsters to use their property to conduct crimes might face prosecution and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, according to Mr. Tahir.
“The law which is Advance State Fraud and other Fraud Related Offenses Act, 2003, made provisions under Section 3 on the topic we are discussing, which is the use of premises,” Mr Tahir explained. “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 commits an offence and is liable on culmination to a term, not more than fifteen years and not less than five years without an option of fine.”
Mr. Tahir said that the law already establishes the boundaries of ignorance a property owner can claim when questioned if it could be assumed that the owner or management of a property is unaware of illegal action by one of his/her tenants.
“There is a term called ‘what he ought to know’ per the circumstances of the kind of offence committed,” he added.
He also ordered managers and owners of rental properties to check the credentials of potential tenants. He suggested hiring experts to complete the task when the facility managers lack literacy.
Numerous attendees, numbering in the thousands, held opinions that differed from those of the EFCC. Some claim that the law’s ambiguous definition of “knowingly” could be used by careless officers to commit grave human rights breaches, as has happened in the past.
Recently, the anti-graft authority has made it a hobby to enter private homes and hotel rooms without warrants in search of suspected cybercriminals.