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Two Lebanese jailed for smuggling, forfeit $890,000

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Port Harcourt Zonal Office, has secured the conviction of two Lebanese, Chamseddine Mohammed and Dina Khali, for money laundering.

Spokesman for the anti-corruption agency, Dele Oyewale, disclosed this in a statement.

The Asians, who pleaded guilty to the money laundering charges, were sentenced to two years in prison by Justice I. M. Sani of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

The prosecuting counsel, Aso Peters, tendered documents, including a Letter of Invitation from Customs and statements of the defendants, as exhibits.

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Principal Detective, Superintendent Macaulay Olayinka, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, told the court that the Lebanese were arrested for attempting to smuggle $890,000 out of Nigeria through the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.

Olayinka said: “The said amount was found inside their luggage on board a chartered flight with registration number 9HVFF to Lebanon.

“They were apprehended by the Nigeria Customs Service, Area One Command, Port Harcourt, and handed over to the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the EFCC on August 12, 2020 for further investigation.”

He said while Khali with passport number LR152975 was arrested with $670,000, Mohammed with passport number LR0356598 had $220,000 in his possession.

Olayinka said the money recovered from the convicts had been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

However, counsel for the defendants, Paul Ejiga, urged the court to temper justice with mercy, as the defendants were first-time offenders who had no previous criminal records.

Justice Sani consequently convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years in prison with an option of N1 million fine.

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