Two Lebanese, Hassan Rmaiti and Talal Hammoud who were arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on November 26, 2012 with $2,073,160 (Two Million, Seventy Three Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Dollars) have been convicted by Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

While Hassan Rmaiti was arrested with $1,971,920 (One Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty Dollars) Talal Hammoud was caught with $101,240.00 (One Hundred and One Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Dollars). The convicts were on their way to Lebanon when they were arrested for failure to declare the money to Customs at the airport as required under section 12 of the foreign exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act cap F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigerian 2004 and section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011.  The  offence is punishable under section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

The one count charge against Hammoud reads: “That you Talal Hammoud on or about the 7th of November, 2012 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court while transporting in cash the sum of  $101,240.00 (one hundred and one thousand two hundred and forty Dollars) from Nigeria to Lebanon failed to declare to the Nigerian Customs Service the said amount of $101,240.00 (one hundred and one thousand two hundred and forty Dollars) as required under section 12 of the foreign exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act cap F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigerian 2004 and section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011 and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Pr0hibition) Act ) 2011”.

One of the two count charge against Rmaiti reads “That you HASSAN RMAITI on or about the 23rd of November 2012 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos within the jurisdiction of this federal high court while transporting in cash the sum of $1,971,920 (One Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty Dollars) form Nigeria to Lebanon failed to declare the said sum of $1,971,920 (One Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty Dollars), to the Nigerian Custom Services as required under 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, 2011 and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011”.
When the charges were read to the accused persons, they all pleaded guilty.

Based on their plea, prosecuting counsel, ABC Ozioko prayed the court to convict them. Defence counsel, Chris Emeh however pleaded with the court for leniency as the accused persons were first-time offenders.

Justice Okeke accordingly convicted the accused and ordered that they forfeit $25,310 (Twenty Five Thousand Three Hundred and Ten Dollars), being 25% of the undeclared sum to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Wilson Uwujaren
 

You May Also Like

Read Next