Court jails ex-minister, others for stealing N450m, offers N10m fine alternative

A Federal High Court in Jos on Tuesday sentenced former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe and two others for N450 million fraud.

The court also sentenced Raymond Dabo and  Leo Jitung to three months imprisonment each.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged them in 2018 with conspiracy and money laundering.

Delivering ruling, Justice Musa Kurna, gave the the convicts an option to pay a fine of N1 Million each.

Ochekpe, Dabo and Jitung had entered a plea of no case submission.

While sentencing the convicts, the judge held that after withdrawing the said amount from the bank, they did not withhold the money to themselves but delivered same to a governorship candidate, as such were not guilty of retaining the sum for themselves.

Kurna however said they were guilty of withdrawing the N450 million which he said was above the threshold of an individual withdrawal.

He said, the offence , which contravened the provisions of Section 16(1) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2013 as amended, an offence which carries a minimum of three years imprisonment or a N10 million fine.

The judge however, in his discretion sentenced them to three months imprisonment each or an option N1 million naira each.

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