By Chinelo Obogo
The Director General of Labour Party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Doyin Okupe, has stepped aside from his position following a Federal High Court ruling which convicted him of receiving more than N200 million in cash from former National Security Advisor (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
In a letter written to the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi today, Okupe it is time to step aside but that he remains with Obi and the presidential campaign till he emerges victorious.
“You will recall that I briefed you yesterday about my personal travails in seeking justice and clearing my name using the Nigerian legal system to pursue same.
” I have invested too much in your campaign to allow my personal travails to become a source of distraction.
“In the circumstance, I have opted to step aside and plead that you appoint a new campaign DG who can continue the assignment with zero distraction,” Okupe said.
On Monday morning, Okupe was found guilty by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of receiving more than N200 million in cash from Dasuki.
According to the ruling, Okupe, the first defendant in the lawsuit brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), breached the Money Laundering Act with his actions.
While stating that the Act provides that no individual or organisation shall receive any sum above N5 million and N10 million respectively without passing through a financial institution, the judge held that “there is no evidence that the money passed through a financial institution”.
According to Justice Ojukwu, the NSA is not a financial institution, adding that even if the president was said to have authorized the funds, he did not say that the money must be paid in cash in violation of money laundering.
Consequently, the court held that the first defendant, Okupe was guilty in counts 34, 35, 36, and 59.
The Judge, however, found the defendants not guilty in counts 1 to 33 on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish the charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust and corruption against the NSA.
In counts 34 to 59 upon which Okupe was convicted, he was accused of receiving various sums ranging from N10 million on different occasions from 2012 to 2015 when he was SSA to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The court sentenced Okupe to two years imprisonment on count 34 with an option of a fine which Okupe opted to pay.