in

Businessman forfeits $700,000 to Nigerian govt

A judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, Rilwan
Aikawa, has ordered a Congo-based businessman to forfeit
$700,000 out of the $1.9 million he allegedly laundered to the
Federal Government.

Paulinus Ani, who initially claimed to be a Congolese, entered
into a plea bargain arrangement with the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC) after the anti-graft agency charged
him with money laundering.

The judge had on October 25, ordered Mr. Ani’s arrest for
refusing to appear in court after the EFCC filed a two
count-charge marked, FHC/L/161c/2014, against the businessman
over his failure to declare the sum of $1, 909,140, which he
allegedly laundered from the Republic of Congo to the men of
the Nigerian Customs Service.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the
accused person owned up to the alleged offence after entering
into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC.

Reviewing the fact of the case after Mr. Ani’s guilty plea,
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the defendant was handed
over to the commission following his arrest on February 23,
2014, with $1, 909,140 at the Murtala Muhammed International
Airport by men of the Nigeria Customs Service.

He said the defendant disclosed in his statement that the money
was given to him by one Ikechukwu Frank for delivery to one
Jude Okoye.

The lawyer added that the businessman was arrested by men of
the NCS while attempting to deliver the money without going
through any financial institution.

Mr. Oyedepo also displayed a letter from the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN) showing that the money is in its custody. He also
revealed that the Commission had signed a plea bargain
agreement dated December 4, 2017, with the accused person.

He subsequently urged the court to convict the defendant in
view of his plea and overwhelming evidence against him.

Sentencing the accused person, the judge ordered that the
businessman should forfeit $700, 000 to the Federal Government
out of the seized money.

A breakdown of the money to be forfeited by the defendant
showed that he was given an option of fine of $50, 000 while he
is also to forfeit $650, 000 to the Federal Government.

According to the judge, the money which is to be paid from the
recovered $1, 909,140, that was kept in the safe custody of the
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to be credited to the
consolidated fund of the federation.

“The remaining sum of $1, 209, 140 should be released to the
defendant through a designated financial institution in strict
compliance with the provisions of Section 1 (a) of the Money
Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended.

“The defendant shall within seven days after the payment of the
fine imposed by the court, enter into a bond with the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) never to be involved in
economic and financial crimes within and outside the shores of
Nigeria”, Justice Aikawa held.

The two count charge against the accused person reads: “That
you, Ani Paulinus Onyeka, on or before February 10, 2014, at
the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, within the
jurisdiction of this court, while transporting in cash the sum
of $1, 909,140, from Republic of Congo to Nigeria, failed to
declare the said sum of $1.909,140, to Nigerian Customs
Services (NCS), as required under Section 12 of the Foreign
Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap.
F34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Section 2(5)
of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, and thereby
committed an offence punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money
Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, as amended in 2012.

“That you, Ani Paulinus Onyeka, on or before February 10, 2014,
at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, within
the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, transported the
cash sum of $1, 909,140, from Republic of Congo to Nigeria,
with intent to carry out specified unlawful activity to wit:
avoiding lawful transaction under the law through financial
institution in respect of the sum of N1, 909,140 and thereby
committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section
4(5) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act,
2006.”

Source: Premium Times Nigeria

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Written by Premium Times

Premium Times

A multimedia Nigerian publication based in Abuja delivering fresh, factual & reliable news. Follow all the Breaking news and deep investigative stories from Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Okorocha says new Ministry of Happiness & Purpose Fulfillment will ‘shock’ critics

PDP chair: Edo delegates dump Dokpesi for Secondus