Court Convicts Businessman, Orders Forfeiture Of $200,000
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has convicted one Moghalu Maduakonam on a one-count charge of money laundering.
The convict, who is a businessman, appeared before the court on Tuesday following his arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Maduakonam was arrested sometime in February 2013 by EFCC operatives for transporting in cash a sum of $200,000 while attempting to board a plane from Nigeria to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
But according to a statement by the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren, the money is above the threshold of $10,000 allowed by law for an individual.
The anti-graft agency said the defendant failed to disclose the said sum to the Nigerian Customs Service as required by Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act CapF34 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No. 11, 2011.
The offence is said to be punishable under Section 2(5) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No. 11, 2011 as amended by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Delivering the judgment prepared by Justice Adeniyi Ademola in December 2017 shortly before his retirement, Justice Ojukwu held that the prosecution had proved its case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubts.
“I have no difficulty in convicting the defendant on the count preferred against him”, the judge said.
Maduakonam’s counsel, Babara Amosu, however, prayed the court to consider the convict as a first time offender and temper justice with mercy, having admitted to his mistake earlier in the trial.
On the other hand, EFCC counsel M. E. Eimonye urged the court to apply the full weight of the law.
He added that the offence was “intentional” and that the defendant was fully aware of its consequences under the law since that was not his first time of travelling to Dubai.
Justice Ojukwu consequently ordered the forfeiture of the $200,000 which the convict concealed to the Federal Government.