The Supreme Court on February 7, upheld the judgment of the Appeal Court of July 14, 2017, which had convicted and sentenced Ngene Linus Chibuike to two years in prison and ordered the forfeiture of the sum of $2,506,998 to the Federal Government.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had prosecuted the convict on a one-count charge of falsely declaring the sum of $11,500 instead of $2,506,998 to the officers of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, as required under the provision of Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012).
The convict had pleaded not guilty, 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.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, the convict approached the Court of Appeal for reprieve, but lost, prompting him to yet again, approach the Supreme Court.
In the lead judgement, delivered by Justice Musa Datijo Muhammed, the panel of justices unanimously upheld the submission of counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, that the appeal by the convict lacked merit.
Chibuike was arrested on October 8, 2015 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, by officers of the NCS, for not declaring the $2,506,998 in his possession and was subsequently handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.