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Court convicts Kano businessman for money laundering

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday convicted Abdullahi Sani on a one-count charge of under-declaration after failing to declare $121,000 to the Nigeria Customs Service.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Kano zonal secured his conviction after he pleaded guilty to the charge prefered against him in a case which was initiated by the anti-graft agency in February.

The presiding judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa had asked that the charge be read for the defendant before his ruling on the case.

“That you, Abdullahi Sani, on or about the 31st December 2018 at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano State within the judicial division of this honourable court (at the currency declaration desk), with passport No. 09PC66281.

“While travelling with the sum of $207,000 to China and about to board Ethiopian Air with Flight No. ET940 failed to declare the sum of $121,000 to the Nigeria Customs Service, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 2(3) Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 2(5) of the same Law,” the charge reads.

Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service had arrested Abdullahi at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport during a routine check, and upon a search on him, it was uncovered that he had a total sum of $207,000, but declared only $86,000 leaving the sum of $121,000 undeclared.

The Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 states that any individual, who is transporting cash or negotiable instruments in excess of US$10,000, or its equivalent must be declared to the Nigerian Customs Service.

Non-declaration of the funds or false declaration is an offence that is punished upon conviction by the individual forfeiting the funds in question, or to the imprisonment of not less than 2 years or to both.

Abdullahi was arraigned by the EFCC in February before Justice Allagoa where he pleaded “not guilty” to the charge against him. He changed his plea to “guilty” when the matter came up for hearing on December 16.

At a resumed hearing on Tuesday, the prosecuting counsel, Nasiru Salele, while reviewing the facts of the case, called a witness, Hassan Yahaya who testified against Abdullahi.

Delivering judgement, Justice Allagoa pronounced Sani guilty as charged and ordered him to forfeit 40 per cent of the undisclosed sum of money to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The remaining 60 per cent and the disclosed $86,000 were, ordered to be returned to him.

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