Woman arraigned in Lagos over possession of 35 foreign currencies

A businesswoman, Olawumi Olatoro, on Wednesday appeared before a Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly failing to declare 35 foreign currencies worth millions of naira at the airport.

The accused is arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for failing to declare the currencies at the point of entry in contravention of Section 2(3) and (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.

Before her arraignment, the Defence Counsel, Mr Adewumi Adisa, informed the court that a letter had been to the EFCC requesting for a plea bargain.

He urged the court to prevent the arraignment of the accused.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo noted that plea bargain could only be possible where the accused was properly brought before the court.

She held that since the accused had not been arraigned, she was not yet before the court to even present the issue of plea bargain.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused was consequently arraigned on the charge to which she pleaded not guilty.

Adisa urged the court to admit the accused to bail on liberal terms.

In a short ruling, Justice Oguntoyinbo granted the accused bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties in like sum.

She added that the accused must submit her international passport at the office of the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar.

The court fixed Oct. 18 for trial.

The prosecution said the accused committed the offence on Jan. 24 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The prosecutor, Mr A.M. Ocholi told the court that the accused was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Customs Service for failing to declare the different currencies in her possession.

The currencies allegedly retrieved from her include 26,420 pounds, 5,000 dollars, 1,320 Poland Zloty, 715 Brazillian real, 965,000 Korean Won, 10,000 Malaysian Ringgit, 2920 Isreal Shekel and 13,218 dollars.

Also recovered as exhibit are 394 Japanese Yen, 76,550 Kenyan Shillings, 1920 New Zeland dollars, 27,000 Iraqi Diner, RM 392 Malaysian Ringit, 500 Norway Krone, 2,000 Thailand Baht, MAD 260 Moroccan Dirham, and QR 159, Qatari Riyal.

Other currencies include 250 Swiss Franc, 1,200 Taiwan dollar, 6,360 Indian Rupees, 3,930 Egyptian pounds, 6,410 Russian Rubble, 20 Brazil Real, 105 Turkish Lira, LD 26,000 Libyan Dinar, 1,000 Hong Kong dollars, and 50 dollars.

Also found on her were 250 Tunisian Lira, 18 Saudi Arabia Riyal, 7.5 Bahrain, Rp 158 Indonesian Rupiah, 50 Phillipine Peso, 50 Sudanese pounds, and1,515 Pakistan Rupee.

The currencies were said to be cumulatively above 10,000 dollars, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering Act.

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