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Confiscation Hearing: London Court orders Terry Waya to Pay £1.54 Million or Go to Jail for 30 Months.

January 24, 2008
The Southwark Crown Court in a confiscation hearing yesterday went tough on Terry Waya, a controversial London-based Nigerian businessman.

The court ordered Mr. Waya, 43, to pay a fine of more than 1.5 million pounds sterling within six months or to go to jail for thirty months.

This was the second major conviction within a year for Waya in a British court. He was earlier sentenced for “obtaining money transfer by deception,” according to a statement sent to Saharareporters by Helen Kenedy of the press bureau at the London Metropolitan Police.

Waya’s legal troubles began in November 2005 when he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering after he came forward to post bail of 500,000 pounds sterling in favor of former Bayelsa Governor Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha. The then governor had been arrested in London and charged with money laundering. London police arrested Waya on November 23, 2005 on suspicion of money laundering. Following his arrest, police authorities seized a banker’s draft for more than half a million pounds sterling. “This Bankers draft had been sent to him by his bank and represented the closing balance of his accounts,” the police said.

A London police spokesperson said both the police and Waya’s bank had concerns about his finances. His bank subsequently closed his account.

On September 11, 2006, Waya was charged with two counts of obtaining money transfers by deception. On October 7, 2007, he was found guilty of obtaining money transfers by deception in relation to a mortgage of £465k with which he bought his London property at 18A Northgate, Prince Albert Road, London NW87RE. He was found to have given false information in his application about his status, his current employment, date of birth and other details.

Waya was found not guilty on the second count. This count had to do with a re-mortgage Waya took out for £838k with Birmingham Midshires Bank.

On August 7, 2007 the Southwark Crown Court sentenced him to 80 hours community service to be completed within 12 months.

Yesterday, the Southwark Crown Court again ordered Waya to pay £1,540,000, considered to be the benefit of his criminal activities and estimated to represent the current value of his London property. He is to pay the full amount within six months or face 30 months imprisonment in default. Waya is also to pay £5000 prosecution fees within three months.

In a statement, Sean Wanless of the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Command, described the process of convicting Waya as “a complex investigation, which led to a professional criminal being deprived of the profits of his crime—once again sending a strong message to those involved in criminal activity that crime does not pay. The Met police will be vigorous in the pursuit of those who assist corrupt politically exposed persons.”

Editors notes:

Confiscation - A confiscation order made under the Proceeds of Crime, Criminal Justice, or Drug Trafficking Acts (POCA, CJA or DTA) does not confiscate assets! It imposes a debt on the defendant equal to the value of his property. It is then up to the defendant to settle the debt with the enforcing magistrates court. Judges normally allow a time to sell assets and they also set a default prison sentence in case the debt is not settled.

This investigation was carried out by the Proceeds of Corruption Unit within the Met’s Economic & Specialist Crime Command. The command was originally set up in 1946 as the ‘Fraud squad’ and is now one of the most varied commands in the Met. It has the lead for asset recovery in the MPS and also makes a significant contribution to the disruption of criminal networks. It takes the lead in the following five areas:

· Economic Crime, through Operation Sterling, the Met’s strategy for combating economic crime in London

· E-Crime

· Proceeds of Crime (Payback)

· Human Trafficking and Organized Immigration Crime, through operation Maxim

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