Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday convicted Moghalu Maduakonam on one-count charge of money laundering preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Maduakonam, a businessman, was arrested sometime in February 2013 by operatives of the EFCC for transporting in cash a sum of $200,000, while attempting to board an Ethiopian Airline from Nigeria to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The money is above the threshold of $10,000 allowed by law for an individual.
The defendant failed to disclose the said sum to the Nigerian Customs Service as required by Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No. 11, 2011.
The offence is punishable under Section 2(5) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No. 11, 2011 as amended by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Justice Ojukwu, while delivering the judgment prepared by Justice A. A. Ademola in December 2017 shortly before his retirement said, the prosecution had proved its case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubts.
“I have no difficulty in convicting the defendant on the count preferred against him”, the judge said.
Maduakonam’s counsel, Babara Amosu, however, prayed the court to consider the convict as a first time offender and temper justice with mercy, having admitted to his mistake earlier in the trial.
On the other hand, counsel to the EFCC, M. E. Eimonye urged the court to apply the full weight of the law adding that the offence was “intentional” and that the defendant was fully aware of its consequences under law since that was not his first time of travelling to Dubai.
Consequently, Justice Ojukwu ordered the forfeiture of the $200,000 which the convict concealed to the federal government.