Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
An alleged money launderer, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, who was slated for sentencing on Monday having pleaded guilty to an alleged attempt to launder $188, 858 out of Nigeria through a Dubai/United Arab Emirates bound Ethiopian Airline, stunned a federal high court sitting in Abuja when he denied his earlier admittance of guilt.
The court presided by Justice Adamu Bello, subsequently deferred the scheduled sentencing following the development.
Ibrahim had on January 17, pleaded guilty to a one count charge that was preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, only to tell the trial court at the resumed hearing that he did not properly understand the charge on that day.
He accused the anti graft agency of misrepresenting the facts about the case and claimed that contrary to the allegation that he concealed some money on him on the day he was apprehended, he told the court that he had duly declared everything to Custom Officers at the airport where he was nabbed.
The EFCC had on November 7, 2012, arrested the accused person on allegation that he attempted to launder $188, 858 out of Nigeria through a Dubai/United Arab Emirates bound Ethiopian Airline.
The EFCC alleged that though he declared the sum of $45, 000 as the total amount of cash on him, a search on him however revealed that he actually concealed monies totaling $188, 858.
Following his new plea, Justice Adamu Bello adjourned the case to Wednesday 23rd and granted the accused bail in the sum of N1 million and one surety in like sum.
The charge against Abdulrasheed Ibrahim reads: “That you Abdulrasheed Ibrahim on or about the 7th of November 2012 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court while transporting in cash the sum of US 188,858.00 (One hundred and eighty eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty eight United States dollars) only from Nigeria to Dubai, United Arab Emirates falsely declared to the Nigerian Customs Service the sum of $45,000.00 (forty five thousand United State dollars) only instead of the said sum of US$188,858.00 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.”