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Supreme Court Affirms Two-Year Jail Term, Forfeiture of $2,506,998 against Money Laundering Convict

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The Supreme Court on February 7, 2020 upheld the Appeal Court’s judgement of July 14, 2017 in which Ngene Linus Chibuike was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit the sum of $2,506,998 (Two Million, Five Hundred and Six Thousand, Nine hundred and Ninety-Eight United States Dollars) to the Federal Government.

It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC prosecuted the convict on a one-count charge of falsely declaring the sum of $11,500 (Eleven Thousand, Five Hundred United States Dollars) instead of $2, 506, 998 (Two Million, Five Hundred and Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight United States Dollars) to the officers of Nigerian Customs Service as required under the provision of Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012).

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He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the trial judge, Justice I.N Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos on February 9, 2016, found him guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment and ordered that the sum of $2,506,998, which he didn’t declare be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Not satisfied with the judgement, the convict approached the Court of Appeal for reprieve and lost, prompting him to yet again, approach the Supreme Court.

In a lead judgement delivered by Justice Musa Datijo Muhammed, the panel of justices in a unanimous decision upheld the submission of counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, that the appeal by convict lacked merit.

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Chibuike was arrested on October 8, 2015 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, for not declaring the $2,506,998 in his possession and was subsequently handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.

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