For failing to declare $310,500 to the authorities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, a traveller, Efosa Eriamiantoe, has been asked to forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.
Justice Saliu Seidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, also convicted the suspect.
The convict had been arrested by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the airport on his way from South Africa on January 25, 2015 for failure to declare the money found on him.
He was subsequently arraigned on April 23, 2015 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on one count bordering on money laundering, an offence punishable under Section 2(5) of the money laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012).
He pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby setting the stage for his trial.
The prosecuting counsel, Abba Mohammed, had, during the trial, provided enough evidence to convince the judge that the convict had flouted the provision of the money laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011.
The defence counsel, E. A. Onyeke, pleaded with the judge to allow his client forfeit the money to the Federal Government, rather than serving a jail term.
“My Lord, the defendant has suffered so much in the court of this trial,” he added.
Consequently, Justice Seidu convicted the accused person and ordered that the undeclared $310, 500 should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
“The accused is a frequent international traveller who knows the rules guiding money laundering. But he is inconsistent in his evidence.
“I am satisfied that the prosecutor has been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused is hereby convicted and should forfeit the sum of $310,500 to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the judge said.
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