The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a suspected bulk currency courier, Abubakar Tijani Sheriff, for attempting to smuggle $7million out of the country. Click HERE if you missed the story.
Converted at the rate of N156 to a dollar, the money totals N1.1 billion. The commission also said that the suspect had confessed to being a money courier for no fewer than twenty powerful individuals in the country.
The 24-year-old, according to a statement from the commission, was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos en route Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sheriff is said to have been apprehended by EFCC operatives at the point of boarding a plane. The statement further said the suspect was being detained at the commission’s holding facility in Lagos, pending his arraignment in court.
Upon his arrest, the suspect was said to have declared that he had a total sum of $4.5million on him but thorough screening and search showed that he was actually carrying $7,049,444.
He later confessed that he is a courier for twenty individuals who hired him to courier the money for them to Dubai.
The statement reads in part: “Investigations by the EFCC showed that Sheriff is a regular traveller and one of several couriers of illegal cash suspected to be proceeds of crime. His claims in respect of his accomplices are still being investigated by the commission.
“Travellers leaving the country are statutorily required to declare cash in excess of $10,000. However, it is not sufficient to declare excess cash, under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act, the onus is on the person making the declaration to explain the source of the excess cash and the reason for the export.
“Experience has shown that bulk cash smuggling, the world over, are usually associated with proceeds of crime as legitimately earned funds are usually processed through the banking system.
“Our experience in the last few years indicates an emerging trend of bulk cash smuggling to Europe, Middle East and North America with the attendant consequence for capital flight.
“Some Nigerian citizens are routinely arrested at airports in Europe and North American for currency smuggling though no such arrests have been recorded in the Middle East. But in all cases, the money is lost as they are never repatriated back to the country.
“The Commission warns travellers who for any reason want to move bulk cash out of the country to do so through the banking system. Otherwise, they must be prepared to declare it and explain the source of the money.”
The question are they going to tell us the names of the 2O powerful citizens involve in this?