$1.6m laundering: EFCC arraigns two bureaus de change operators

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned two Bureau de Change operators for allegedly laundering $1.6m, said to be proceeds of smuggling.

The defendants, Chris Ogbonna and Sulaiman Jibbo were arraigned alongside two firms, Kur and Sule Nigeria Enterprises; and Sunchrist Trans Nigeria Limited on a five counts charge.

The anti-graft agency said they ought to have reasonably known that the said sum, which they allegedly removed from jurisdiction sometime in 2017, formed parts of proceeds of unlawful activity.

Ogbonna and Sunchrist Trans Nigeria Limited were also accused of transferring a total of N607.2m, being proceeds of smuggling, to Kur and Sule Enterprises.

Jibbo, on his part, was accused of making a cash payment of $52,287 to one Fredrick, “which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law.”

EFCC Counsel, Mr Kufre Uduak, told the court that the defendants acted contrary to sections 18(c), 15(2), 1(a), and 16(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and they were liable to punishment under sections 15(3) and 16(2)(b) of the same law.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Subsequently, their lawyer, Mr Chuks Nwana informed the court that he has filed a bail application and served the same on the prosecutor.

He urged the court to grant as pray been a bailable Offence and consider the pandemic situation, COVID-19.

The presiding judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji admitted each of them to bail in the sum of N10m with two sureties in like sum.

Among, other conditions, the judge barred the defendants from travelling outside the country, with an order that the EFCC should notify the Nigeria Immigration Service about them.

The judge gave them 10 days to meet the bail conditions, failing which they would be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services.

Subsequently, the matter was adjourned till July 10 for the report of compliance with the bail conditions.

 

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