Apprentice jailed five years for soliciting for sex via internet blackmailing

Cephas Agbebianu Anani, a refrigerator repair apprentice and resident of Gbi-Kledjo in the Hohoe Municipality has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Ho High Court for soliciting for sex through internet blackmailing.

He was charged for defrauding by false pretence, extortion and publication of obscene material for cyber offences after pleading not guilty to the charges.

The convict was sentenced to five years each for defrauding and extortion and three years for the publication of obscene material, which run concurrently.

Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr Ayamga Akolgo, prosecuting told the Court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Baah, that between December 2018 and January 2019, the convict initiated an online conversation with the victim (name withheld), a teacher and resident in the same town through Facebook social media with user name ‘Gwada Thoni.’

He said the convict used a photograph of Prince Williams of the United Kingdom as his Display Picture (DP), pointing out that the use of a photograph of Prince Williams and the name Gwada Thoni was misrepresentation to deceive the victim under false pretence.

The Prosecution said through their Facebook conversation, the convict then asked the victim to upload her nude videos and pictures to him through his Facebook Messenger user account, which the victim complied.

Mr Ayamga said the convict after taking delivery of the nude materials from the victim, obtained her Whatsapp number through his Facebook account, and then informed the victim was a known person within his community.

He said the convict then threatened the victim to pay him an amount of GHC 2,000 else he would publish the nude materials and to prove that he was serious and capable of publishing the materials, he then re-sent the victim’s nude materials and that of someone identified as Edina back to the victim to fortify his position.

The Prosecution said the victim indicated to the convict that she did not have the money and pleaded with him not to carry out his threat.

Anani then gave her an option to have sex instead 10 times with victim, failure to comply would attract the publication of her nude materials on social media.

Mr Ayamga said the victim being worried and distraught, reluctantly agreed to have sex with the convict and bargained that she paid GHC 100 for him to rent a hotel, for which she obliged, leading to the convict renting a room at Afegame for the sex escapade.

The Prosecution said the victim then informed Hohoe Police, and they mounted surveillance at the hotel to arrest him, but outwitted the Police and was subsequently arrested in his hideout and charged.

Mr Justice Baah, sentencing the convict said though a first-time offender, he fraudulently and illegally set up traps for ladies on the internet to ambush them to expose their nudity adding the sentence was to deter others from engaging in similar acts.

He said the convict conducted himself as a professional businessman on the internet, using that to extort money and demanding sex.

Mr Justice Baah said the convict also indicated that he had prepared himself physically and spiritually well because of the dangers involved in the fraudulent acts.

He said the behaviour of convict violated the human rights of social media users and the laws of the country.

He condemned ladies for compromising their nudity on social media, imploring them to desist from such conducts.

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