EFCC warns hotels to stop helping Yahoo boys after controversial Lagos hotel raid

EFCC says hotel owners could be imprisoned for allowing fraudsters use their properties.

EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa [Twitter/@officialEFCC]

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned hotels in the country to stop aiding internet fraudsters.

The anti-graft agency's spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 owners could become criminally liable for allowing their premises to be used for cybercrime.

He noted that this is a contravention of the Advance Fee Fraud Act which on conviction could lead to a five-year term in prison without the option of a fine.

"The Commission warns hoteliers from allowing their premises and facilities to become havens for cybercrime," he said.

Wednesday's statement was a reaction to EFCC's recent raid on Parktonian Hotel, Lagos where operatives arrested at least 30 people accused of internet fraud.

Media reports and eyewitness accounts indicated that operatives invaded the privacy of guests and conducted illegal checks.

Some guests were also reported to have been naked when operatives gained access into their rooms with access keys reportedly obtained from hotel workers at gunpoint.

Uwujaren dismissed the allegations, submitting instead that EFCC was acting on verified intelligence on the activities of a suspected syndicate of internet fraudsters.

He said the hotel had been under surveillance, and that only the rooms of identified suspects were breached by operatives, with no break-in or violence involved.

He noted that 24 of the 30 people arrested have already confessed their involvement in cybercrimes and related activities.

"There was no incident as the hotel management served with the relevant warrant offered access to the operatives, to carry out their lawful duties," he said.

The EFCC spokesperson also noted that fraudsters have lately resorted to using naked women as a decoy to destroy evidence.

He said the anti-graft agency will not fall for the gimmick and will continue to carry out its lawful duties.

"Adherence to the rule of law remains a core principle moderating the activities of the EFCC and the Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa has repeatedly said the agency under his watch will not deviate from the norm," he said.

The EFCC routinely carries out raids on businesses and residences to arrest internet fraudsters.

A man jumped to his death from the seventh floor of 1004 Estate in Lagos out of panic during one of such raids earlier this year.

The deceased was a guest at the estate, and EFCC denied being aware of the incident until after agents left the scene 'without incident'.

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