The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on December 16, 2016 secured the conviction of one , a Saudi Based Bureau de Change Operator before Honourable Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court Kano on a one count charge of Money Laundering.
Trouble began for the convict when the commission received a report from the Nigeria Custom Service that an unaccompanied baggage of blanket on board Sudan Airline was intercepted by its officers at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport containing the sum of $520,700 (Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty United State Dollars).
Subsequently, the clearing agent, Hassan Bala who cleared the baggage was arrested and brought to the commission. According to the agent, the baggage was sent to him by the convict from Saudi Arabia and that he was not aware it contained the said money. His claim was subsquently confirmed when the commission invited the convict who was then in Saudi Arabia and he told the operatives of the commission that the clearing agent has no knowledge that the baggage was concealing the sum of $520,700 (Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred United State Dollars).
During the course of investigation, seventeen individuals stormed the commission’s Kano Zonal office claiming the ownership of the money. They claim they sent the money in Saudi Riyals to the convict who was in Saudi Arabia for him to change same to Dollar and send back the dollar equivalent to them in Nigeria.
Upon the convict’s intial arraignment he pleaded not guilty but in today’s proceeding, the convict changed his plea of not guilty to guilty. His sudden change of plea was sequel to a plea bargain proposal he approached the commission with through his counsel, Mustapha Idris.
In view of his latest plea of guilty, counsel for the prosecution, Sa’ad Hanafi Sa’ad seek the leave of the court to review the facts of the case. While reviewing the facts of the case, Sa’ad tendered a total of six exhibits which were admitted and marked as exhibits A,B,C,C1,D,E and F.
After listening to the facts of the case, Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced the convict to two years imprisonment or pay a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira Only). He further ordered that the convict forfiet the sum $260,350 (Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty United State Dollars) which is the 50% of the total sum to the Federal Government of Nigeria.