Four Nigerians were last week sentenced to seven years imprisonment each by a lower court in Addis Ababa for ATM fraud.The convicts, whose names have not been given, were arrested in Addis Ababa in November 2010 by the police after they withdrew money from an account that was not theirs through an ATM machine.
A police officer said the arrest of two of the convicts led to the arrest of two others who confessed to have been part of the syndicate.
The officer said the police had in November received a complaint from a bank and therefore mounted surveillance on the suspects who withdrew more than one million Birr from other customers’ accounts in one month.
“What they did was that whenever they needed money, they used their computers and forged ATM cards and then go to one of the selected machines and withdraw what they wanted.
“They do not return until they had spent the money they took,” he said.
He said some valuables such as laptops, ATM cards, gold jewelries and diamonds were recovered in the convicts’ well-furnished apartment.
Mr John Ejinaka, the Head of Chancery, Nigerian Embassy in Ethiopia, who confirmed the incident, said the embassy was aware of the arrest of the suspects.
“We were following the case since last year, but we are not aware of their conviction,” Ejinaka said, adding that the embassy would follow up the case.