22 January 2013

Nigeria: Money Laundering Suspect Makes U-Turn, Pleads Innocent

There was a mild drama yesterday at the Federal High Court, Abuja when a suspect, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, who had on January 17 pleaded guilty to money laundering charge of $188,858 preferred against him by the EFCC, denied his earlier admission of guilt and pleaded not guilty.

The suspect was arraigned on 17th of January, 2013, before Justice Adamu Bello on a one count charge of money laundering and he pleaded guilty to the charge. Justice Bello, however, adjourned to January 21 for sentencing. At the resume hearing yesterday, I. A. Azuamah, counsel to Ibrahim told the court that he had filed a motion on notice to change the plea from guilty to not guilty.

The prosecution counsel, Chioma Okongwu, asked the court for time to study the motion and respond accordingly. Azuamah moved an oral application for bail on behalf of the accused person. He told the court that the accused was granted administrative bail by the EFCC and that the offence for which he was arraigned was bail able but the EFCC counsel opposed the application.

Justice Bello granted bail to the accused in the sum of N1 million and one surety with evidence of a landed property in Abuja.

Ibrahim was arrested in November at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while preparing to board a United Arab Emirates-bound Ethiopian Airline to Dubai. A total of $188,858 (N30 million) was said to have been found on him.

He was said to have declared the sum of $45,000 but further search on him reveal additional $143, 858.

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