By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday convicted a staff of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Adetula Akinyele, who aided some businessmen in attempting to transport $1.4 million in cash out of Nigeria to the Republic of China illegally.
Akinyele, a staff of the security department of FAAN attached to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, was convicted by the court moment he pleaded guilty to the four-count charge of attempting to unlawfully transport the said sum out of Nigeria charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Akinyele was arraigned alongside Ifeanyi Uramah and Emmanuel Nnanna.
In the charge, they were accused of failing to declare the said sum to the Nigerian Customs Service as required under Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap F34, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Sections 2 (3), 2 (5) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.
After they were docked, Akinyele and Nnanna pleaded guilty to the allegation, while Uramah pleaded not guilty.
A.M Yusuf, who represented EFCC, had said Akinyele and Nnanna were arrested by a combined team of Customs, EFCC and NDLEA with the money on October 20, 2012.
Yusuf said though Akinyele was not on duty, he nevertheless wore his duty tag and attempted to beat security men at the Airport by delivering the money to Nnanna, who was already seated in a China-bound aircraft.
The prosecutor added that Nnanna was subsequently arrested and they both made statements to the anti-graft agency.
Uramah, on his part, was said to have counseled the two other accused persons to transport the said sum without declaring it to the Nigerian Customs Service, contrary to the Money Laundering Act. He therefore pleaded the court to convict them as charged.
During the plea for mercy, the convicts’ lawyer, Benson Ndakara urged the court to tender justice with mercy, saying his clients were first time offenders.
Justice Okeke, in a short ruling, thereafter convicted Akinyele and Nnanna as charged and ordered that twenty-five percent of the said $1.4 million, which is about N55.3 million should be forfeited to the Federal Government, while the remaining seventy-five percent should be handed over to Nnanna within five working days of the judgment.