Man Bags 6 Months Sentence For Currency Racketeering  In PH

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt presided over by Justice P. I. Ajoku last week Thursday convicted and sentenced Mr Azubuike Mamwu Obasi  to six months in prison for currency racketeering.

Obasi was jailed after pleading guilty to a four-count charge bordering on illegal acquisition of bank notes and carrying out banking services without an appropriate license.

Obasi was arraigned in court by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) .

One of the charges reads: “That you, Azubuike Manwu Obasi, on or about the 15th day of February, 2024, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, acquired and retained the cumulative sum of N554,600.00 (Five Hundred and Fifty-four thousand, six hundred naira)  which you knew or reasonably ought to have known, forms part of your unlawful acts, selling or trading in Naira notes and carrying on banking business in Nigeria without a valid license, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (1) and (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.”

Mr Obasi pleaded guilty to the charges when they were read to him.

In view of the plea of the defendant, prosecuting counsel, E. K. Bakam prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly. Defence counsel, B. E. Onuoha, did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution but urged the court to temper justice with mercy maintaining that the defendant is a first time offender with no previous criminal records.

Justice Ajoku thereafter found the defendant guilty as charged, sentenced him to six months in the Correctional Service on count one to four with N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira) only as an option of fine payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Sentence is to run concurrently with effect from the date of arrest.

The court also made an order forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of five hundred and fifty four thousand, six hundred naira (N554,600), twenty thousand naira new bank notes and the POS device recovered from the convict.

Additionally, the sum of thirty five thousand naira paid into the Access bank account of the convict by an EFCC covert operative was forfeited and returned to him. The convict should also depose an affidavit of good behavior.

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