The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, found a former Senior Special Assistant, SSA, on Media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, guilty of breaching the Money Laundering Act.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja has found Dr Doyin Okupe guilty of receiving over N200 million cash from former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, convicted Okupe who is the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, of the Labour Party, LP, for breaching sections 16(1)&(2) of the Money Laundering Act.
While stating that the Act provides that no individual or organization 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 was 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, Dr Okupe was guilty in counts 34, 35, 36 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.
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The said sum, according to him, was expended on running the office, payment of staff, and image laundering of the former president and his administration.
The court held that evidence before it established that Okupe had in the discharge of his official duties, accepted cash payments that were above the statutory threshold, without recourse to a financial institution.
It was alleged that Okupe received funds from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, while Col. Sambo Dasuki, retired, was in charge.
Though Justice Ojukwu held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, successfully established its case against Okupe, it stood the matter down to enable the Defendant to enter his plea of allocutus (clemency) as provided for in section 310 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.
But the court held that receiving such amounts in cash violated the Money Laundering Act. The trial resumes for his sentencing.