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Nigerian court freezes $300,000 belonging to Chinese over money laundering

THE Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of Li Yan Pin, a Chinese man involved in money laundering worth $300,000.    

Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court, delivered the verdict today in Abuja after two years of trial.

“The judge had earlier ordered the interim forfeiture of the money following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC,” Dele Oyewale, the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity said in a statement.

Justice Quadri in his judgement stated that the EFCC had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and found the accused guilty of the offence.

According to the judge, Pin flouted Section 2, sub-Section 5 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended in 2012.

The defence counsel pleaded that his client who is battling with health challenges had invested in the country, so the judge pardoned him and was exempted from serving jail term but he forfeited the large sum.

“While ordering that the said sum be forfeited to the federal government, justice Quadri, saved the convict a jail term on the ground that he had earlier filed a medical leave over alleged Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) symptoms that included persistent headache, insomnia and fatigue.”

Pin has been standing trial since 2018 when he was arrested by the Presidential Task Force on Trans-border Cash Movement on 15th March, 2018 for concealing the large sum of N129 million at an exchange rate of N430, without declaring the money to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

His arrest was made at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, (NIA) Abuja for failing to declare the money in his possession as he attempted to board an Emirates flight EK 8786 en route Dubai.

In the charge earlier read against Pin, the EFCC stated that “you, Li Yan Pin, on or about the 15th day of March, 2018 at NAIA, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, had in your possession cash in the sum of $300,000 during your outbound clearance for travel to Dubai and failed to declare the said sum of $300,000 to the officers and men of the NCS as required under the provision of Section 2 (3) of the money laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 ( as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012).”

In March, 2018, he was granted a N10 million bail with two sureties while the case was adjourned to 17th April the same year.

All through the prosecution period Pin was held at the EFCC custody except for the period he requested access for treatment in China.

Li claimed to have secured the medical request and also got a reference letter from Nisa Premier Hospital in Abuja to travel abroad for the treatment.

But a disclaimer was issued by one Dr O. Adamu, the Medical Director of Nisa Premier, who denied the hospital issue such reference letter.

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