Appeal Court convicts two Chinese nationals in Sokoto

Olakunle Maruf – Sokoto

Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the Appeal Court Sokoto Division Friday sentenced two Chinese nationals, Mr Meng Wei Kun and Mr Xu Kuai to 3 years jail terms each having been found guilty of count 1 and 2 out of the 3 brought before them by the Sokoto Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Recalled that the Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto had earlier discharged and acquitted the two accused Chinese Nationals of the 3 count charge bordering on Conspiracy, Money Laundering and attempted bribery brought before it by the then Sokoto EFCC Zonal Commander, to the tune of fifty million naira (50,000.000.00).

Unsatisfied with the ruling of the Federal High Court, the Sokoto Zonal Command of EFCC appealed and got satisfactory judgement from the Appeal Court, Sokoto.

Delivering the unanimous judgment, Justice Talba frowned at the Chinese nationals who made frantic efforts to frustrate the Appeal through maneuverings.

Talba who reminded them that the era of technicalities in law is gone for good added that cases are now heard on the basis of their merits.

According to Justice Talba, the EFCC had proven Count 1 and 2 of the 3 Count charge before the Federal High Court beyond a reasonable doubt. He however agreed with the lower Court on count 3 and accordingly struck the charge out stating a similar charge is pending before the High Court of Justice Sokoto State.

“The respondents are charged with Conspiracy and making a cash payment in excess of the threshold provided by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012 to Abdullahi Lawal (then zonal head of EFCC Sokoto) which was established beyond reasonable doubt before the lower Court but surprisingly the trial Judge somersaulted in his judgement and recanted”.

Continuing, Talba said, “I regret to say that the judgment is like a fiction by the trial judge who created doubts in his mind while discharging his responsibilities. “Without doubt, the trial judge grossly misconceived that no offence was committed”.

Making himself clearer, Justice Talba said, “Conspiracy is a distinct offence even if the commission of the actual offence is aborted, and in the instant case there exists positive cogent inescapable evidence the offence was committed, adding therefore is “immensely meritorious”.

In his ruling, Justice Talba said, the two convicted Chinese nationals however have an option of fine to the tune of ten million naira (10,000.000.00) in each of the count charges.

Justice Talba reminded the respondents, offences of this magnitude attract death penalty in China, yet they are in Nigeria committing such crimes to corrupt our system.

The journey of Mr Meng and Xu towards imprisonment began on 11th of May 2020 when the duo conspired and made a cash payment of fifty million naira to the Head of EFCC Sokoto Zonal Command to compromise an investigation against their company, China Zhongao Ltd.

These offences are contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2) (b) of the same Act as well as Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.



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