Money Laundering: Court convicts $1.4m Bulk Cash Couriers… Forfeits 25% of Undeclared Sum
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and presided over by Justice Okechukwu Okeke on Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 convicted two bulk cash couriers arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and ordered them to forfeit 25% of the $1.4million (One Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) not declared to the security agencies before they were arrested by operatives of the EFCC at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
The couriers: Adetula Akinyele, a security guard with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN; Ifeanyi Uramah and Emmanuel Nnanna were intercepted by operatives of the EFCC on Saturday, 21 October, 2012 with $1.4million( One Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport , Lagos .
They were arraigned on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 on a four count charge of conspiracy to transport the said amount of money out of Nigeria through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, without declaring it to the Nigerian Customs Service as required by Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act cap F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Sections 2(3) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.
When the charges were read, the first accused person, Akinyele pleaded guilty to the two charges preferred against him in the four count charge, while the third accused , Nnanna pleaded guilty to the one count charge levied against him.
The second accused person, ifeanyi Uramah pleaded not guilty to the fourth count which borders on counselling the other accused persons to commit the crime.
Defence counsel, D. O Ndakara urged the court to take notice of the guilt plea by the accused persons and be lenient since they have not wasted the time of the court.
In his ruling, Justice Okeke convicted the first and third accused persons as charged. He ruled that based on the provisions of Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, the first and third accused persons should forfeit 25 percent of the undeclared sum ($1,400,000.00), which is about $350, 000, 00, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
As for the second accused person, Ifeanyi Uramah who pleaded not guilty to the charge of counselling the convicts on how to conceal the money from security operatives at the airport, the court fixed Friday November 16, 2012 for hearing of his bail application. The judge ordered him remanded in the EFCC custody.
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