This news story dated 01 September 2009.
Hardline Nigerian official pledges to arrest the 419 scammers
In a world-first move, a top Nigerian official has pledged to do more to jail the perpetrators of Nigerian internet scams that police say are costing Australians at least $40 million a year.
But Sunday Olu Agbi, the hardline Nigerian high commissioner who is based in Canberra, stands by his comments from last year that most victims of the scams are just as guilty as the fraudsters and should be jailed as well.
The Nigerian Government has teamed up with Queensland Police to create an "online reporting system" on the Queensland Police website where any Australians who believe they have been targeted by a scam can report it directly to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Police say this will greatly speed up investigations and solve the problem of victims not reporting scams to police because they are embarrassed or feel foolish.
Professor Olu Agbi said the portal would lead to the arrest and prosecution of Nigerian scammers.
Already, co-operation between Queensland Police and the EFCC has led to the arrest of 10 Nigerian fraudsters and their assets will be used to repay victims.
"The reports will show in Nigeria almost automatically - it makes it possible for the scammers to be traced as quickly as possible by the Nigerian EFCC," he said.
Although the system is open to all Australians, NSW Police fraud squad head Detective Superintendent Col Dyson said he would take a closer look at the Queensland Police project and consider adding the reporting system to the NSW Police website.
But the direct co-operation with the EFCC, enabled via the new online portal, would mean the fraudsters could be arrested and the money returned.
In the past few years, 10 Nigerians were locked up for computer fraud because of co-operation between the EFCC and Queensland Police.
One case had just been completed. The perpetrator was jailed for 19 years with an order from the courts that all their assets - including two parcels of land and a car - be disposed of and repatriation made to the victim.
It provides an effective, silent mechanism for victims to make some inquiries or a report directly to the EFCC in Nigeria and have their matter looked at.