Fame turned notoriety over night for Obinwanne Okeke, the celebrated Nigerian Whizkid Entrepreneur and who was last year named by Forbes Africa as one of the Under 30 honoree as he has now been brought before an American court on charges of computer and wire fraud.
United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation said Okeke and at least six other persons were involved in the crimes.
“There is a probable cause to believe Okeke has conspired with several individuals to access computers without authorisation, and using such access to cause the fraudulent wire transfer of funds,” FBI’s special agent Marshall Ward said in an affidavit he deposed to before Justice Lawrence Leonard, in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 2.
The affidavit also sought a warrant to arrest Okeke who was in the United States at the time. He was accused of “stealing” $12m from a steel company by hacking into an executive’s office365 account and sending an email with a fake invoice to the purchase department.
Had this singular fraud attempt succeeded the Invictus CEO would have been 4.6 billion naira richer. Obinwanne Okeke was born on November 9, 1987 in Ukpor village, Anambra state, as the 17th child of a polygamous father. He was raised by his mother and other relatives before his father’s death when he was only 16. He holds a bachelors and a master’s degrees in International Relations and Counter Terrorism (with distinction) from Monash University, Australia. While in Australia, Okeke founded Literacy Africa International to raise awareness about literacy problem among children in Africa. In 2017, Okeke was nominated in the Young African Business Leader (West Africa) category for the All Africa Business Leaders Awards ( AABLA). He was listed on Forbes 100 Most Influential Young Africans in 2018. Okeke named his company, Invictus, after one of Nelson Mandela’s favourite poems, written by William Ernest Henley, which talks about the undefeated and unconquerable soul of a hard worker, from an impoverished background.
Chances of his conviction and jail sentence are very high as the FBI have taken time to build a water tight case against him. Meanwhile twitter has been agog with comments on this development. Follow comments with hashtag #Invictusobi.