Court Jails Bizmen 2 Years For Money Laundering, Forfeit $2.9m

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced two Lagos based businessmen, Rowland Ojukwu and Linus Ngene to two years imprisonment each over money laundering.

The court also ordered the convicts, who were arrested at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos for failing to declare the sum of $2.9 million to Customs, to forfeit the undeclared sum to the federal government.

The two men were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of committing the offence on October 8, 2015, while trying to board a China bound flight enroute Addis Ababa.

The prosecutor, Vincent Latono had told the court that Ojukwu had failed to declare the sum of $2.9 million to the Nigeria Customs service, during a flight to Addis Ababa for a business deal.

According to the prosecutor, Ngene falsely declared the sum of 11,500 dollars when he actually had in his possession the sum of $2.5 million.

The offences are said to have contravened the provisions of sections 2, 2 (5) and 3 of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended by Act 1 of 2012.

The convicts had each pleaded not guilty to the charge at the commencement of their trial.

In two separate judgements yesterday, Justice Ibrahim Buba held that the accused ought to serve some punitive term as caution to guide against future occurrences.

Justice Buba held that if an order for forfeiture of the said sum is solely made, it will be akin to giving the accused a blank cheque home.

The judge therefore, ordered that the undeclared sum be forfeited to the federal government, while both accused persons are to be sentenced to a term of two years imprisonment each, for the offence.

He stated, “The law is clear that an accused can be convicted on his

confessional statement that is direct, positive and unequivocal.

“The defence managed to submit on imaginary consistency, when the fact is as clear as daylight.

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