The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned two Bureau de Change operators and their companies, for allegedly smuggling the sum of $1.6 million.
The defendants, Chris Ogbonna and Sulaiman Jibbo, were arraigned alongside their two firms, Kur and Sule Nigeria Enterprises; and Sunchrist Trans Nigeria Limited on a five-counts charge.
The EFCC said they ought to have reasonably known that the said sum, which they allegedly removed from jurisdiction sometime in 2017, formed parts of proceeds of unlawful activity.
Ogbonna and Sunchrist Trans Nigeria Limited were also accused of transferring a total of N607.2 million being proceeds of smuggling, to Kur and Sule Enterprises.
Jibbo, on his part, was accused of making a cash payment of $52,287 to one Fredrick, “which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law”.
EFCC counsel, Mr. Kufre Uduak, told the court that the defendants acted contrary to sections 18(c), 15(2), 1(a), and 16(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and they were liable to punishment under sections 15(3) and 16(2)(b) of the same law.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Subsequently, their lawyer, Mr. Chuks Nwana informed the court that he has filed a bail application and served same on the prosecutor.
He urged the court to grant as prayed being a bailable offence and to consider the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The presiding judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji admitted each of them to bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
Among other conditions, the judge barred the defendants from travelling outside the country, with an order that the EFCC should notify the Nigeria Immigration Service about them.
The judge gave them 10 days to meet the bail conditions, failing which they would be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services.
He adjourned till July 10 for report of compliance with the bail conditions.