Nigeria: Court admits evidence against Chinese national in money laundering case
Abuja, May 31, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday admitted in evidence document tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against a Chinese national, Li Ya Ping, who is facing trial for allegedly concealing the sum of $300,000 (equivalent of N108million), while attempting to board a flight to Dubai.
The offence contravenes Section 2 (3) (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) which states that: “Transportation of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000 or its equivalent by individuals in or out of the country shall be declared to the Nigeria Customs Service”.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to EFCC, P. K. Latona presented the fourth witness, Hassan Mohammed Misau.
Misau, a detective with the Advance Fraud Unit of the EFCC, in his testimony told the court that, “on March 15, 2018 at about 13Hours, my team received a phone call from the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, FCT Command, informing us of the arrest of the defendant, who they said concealed a sum of $300,000 and was intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja while trying to board an Emirate Airline to Dubai”.
He stated that the anti-graft agency dispatched a team of investigators to follow up on the report, and on arrival they met with the officers – Yahaya Ishaq and Helen Ajibero, who gave statements on how the incident happened.
The witness said that his team, thereafter, received handover notes, statements from the customs officials, 2 Business boarding pass, a Chinese international passport, a mobile handset belonging to the defendant alongside the sum of $300,000 and brought same to the Commission.
He added that the defendant was handed over to the EFCC on March 16, 2018 by the NCS.
According to the witness, investigations were extended to the Chinese Embassy, Abuja, the Cross River State Government which the defendant claimed he was doing business with, UBA, Bank of Agriculture and Heritage Bank (the banks he claimed the sum were withdrawn from). He added that the defendant’s mobile handset was also subjected to forensic analysis.
Going further, Misau said investigations revealed that the defendant failed to make currency declaration despite the fact that he was a frequent flyer from Nigeria to various foreign destinations via Abuja and Lagos International Airports. He also told the court that their findings revealed that the defendant understand and can speak English language.
With no objection from the Defence counsel, P. I. N Ikwueto SAN, the prosecution tendered the handover notes from Customs, the statements from Yahaya Ishaq and Helen Ajibero, the boarding pass, the exhibit registration form for the sum of $300,000 and were all admitted as “Exhibits B: B1, B2, B3, B4 and B5” respectively.
Also tendered were the mobile phone, Hawaii 10 and People’s Republic of China Passport of the defendant, which were admitted as “Exhibits C, and D” respectively.
The PW4 further explained that the said sum was registered with the exhibit keeper of the EFCC with a registration form and the certified exhibit form was also tendered and admitted as Exhibit ‘E’.
The statement of defendant dated March 16, 2018 at the EFCC was tendered and admitted as Exhibit ‘F’. The additional statement made by the Immigration officers, Murtar Abdullahi and Hauwa on March 19, 2018 was admitted as “Exhibit G and H”.
Other documents admitted included letter to the Cross River State, Calabar as “Exhibit I”; Letter to the Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc; Letter to the Head of Forensic Unit, EFCC and Letter to the Chinese Embassy as Exhibits ‘K’, ‘L’ and ‘J’ respectively.
The case has been adjourned to May 31, 2018 for continuation of trial.