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EFCC Arraigns Man for Currency Racketeering in Port Harcourt

The Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, March 11, 2024, arraigned Azubuike Mamwu Obasi before Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for currency racketeering.

Obasi is facing trial on a four-count charge, bordering on illegal acquisition of banknotes and carrying out banking services without an appropriate licence, contrary to Section 18 (1) and (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.

One of the charges reads: “That you, Azubuike Manwu Obasi, on or about the 15th day of February 2024, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, acquired and retained the cumulative sum of N554,600.00 (Five Hundred and Fifty-four Thousand, Six Hundred Naira) which you knew or reasonably ought to have known, forms part of your unlawful acts, selling or trading in Naira notes and carrying on banking business in Nigeria without a valid licence, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (1) and (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded “guilty” to all his charges when they were read to him, upon which prosecuting counsel, E. K. Bakam prayed the court for a witness for a review of the facts of the case.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, the witness, Adagwu Joshua told the court that the defendant was arrested sometime in February 2024 at Maddox Night Club in Port Harcourt by the operatives of the Commission for selling naira notes for commercial gains without an appropriate licence.

The witness further revealed that the defendant sold the sum of N20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand Naira) of the new banknotes to one Emeka Daniel comprising 100 pieces of N200 notes (Two Hundred Naira) at the cost of N35,000.00 (Thirty-Five Thousand Naira), paid into his Access Bank account. The defendant, he said, was also found to have acquired and retained various sums of money from the same unlawful activity.

Justice Ajoku ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned the matter till March 14, 2024.

– EFCC

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