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Two illegal gold dealers forfeit N39m, property to FG

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, secured the conviction of two illegal gold dealers, Bukar Mandara Zarami, Managing Director, Bukar Mandara Zarami Limited, and Kar Nap Fenan Wuyep before Justice Muslim S. Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The convicts alongside a company, Bukar Mandara Zarami Limited, were re-arraigned today on an amended two -count charge bordering on possession of 35.58 kilogrammes of Gold Bars wrapped in six bags without appropriate permit, a statement issued on Tuesday by the Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said.

Count one reads:  “That you, Bukar Mandara Zarami, on or about the 9th day of November, 2018 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dealt in 35.58 kilogrammes of gold bars wrapped in six bags without appropriate permit; and you, therefore, committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 134(c) of the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act, 2007.”

“Count two reads:  “That you, “Kar Nap Fenan Wuyep, on or about the 22nd day of May, 2018 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court , without going through any financial institution, accepted cash payment of the sum of $19,440(Nineteen Thousand , Four Hundred and Forty United States Dollars), from one Bakkkuk Steven Goyol, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by the Law; and, you hereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1)(a), Section 16(1) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as Amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b)  of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against them.

In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, sought the leave of the court to review the facts of the case.

Oyedepo informed the court that the first defendant, Zarami, was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos on November 11, 2018 with 35.58 kilogrammes of Gold Bars wrapped in six bags.

He further stated that “He was brought to the Lagos Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, where the gold bars were measured and counted in the presence of the first defendant, his counsel, a representative from the Ministry of Mines and Steel. All parties present signed the measurements document.”

The prosecution sought to tender in evidence the signed measurement document and the first defendant’s boarding pass.

Both the document and the boarding pass of the first defendant were admitted in evidence as exhibits P1 and P2.

The prosecution counsel further told the court that investigations revealed that the first and second defendants did not have the appropriate permit to possess or deal in 35.58kg of gold.

Oyedepo also told the court that, though the first defendant, in his statement to the EFCC, stated that he gave an official of the Ministry, Steven Bakkuk, about N3, 000,000 (Three Million Naira) as royalty, investigation showed that the actual amount he was supposed to pay as royalty was N6, 772, 64,16k (Six Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy -two Thousand, Sixty- four Naira, Sixteen Kobo).

Oyedepo said: “This shows clearly that there was no appropriate permit for that quantity of Gold Bars.

“Investigation further revealed that instead of the  official from the Ministry, who received the money from the first defendant, to put the funds in the treasury, he transferred the sum of N700,000.00 (Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) to the third defendant, who is a Director in the Ministry of Mines and Steel.

“This led to further investigation into the account of Bakkuk, whose account was used for transfers of unlawful enrichment.

“It was discovered that about N28m in tranches was sent to the third defendant.

“On May 22, 2018, the sum of $19,440 (Nineteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty United States Dollars) in cash was given to the third defendant, which is in excess of the amount authorized by Law to be received in cash and it constitutes an offence against Money Laundering Act 2011.”

The prosecution sought to tender the statement of account of Bakkuk in United Bank for Africa, UBA, and the statements of both the first and third defendants.

 

Innocent Odoh, Abuja

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