Okupe appeals conviction for receiving cash above permitted threshold*


Okupe appeals conviction for receiving cash above permitted threshold

Former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe has appealed his conviction by Hon. Justice I. L. Ojukwu of the Federal High Court. Dr. Okupe had been convicted for receiving cash above the permitted threshold on 19 December 2022.

While the Federal High Court had held that the Prosecution had failed to prove the charges of money laundering against Dr. Okupe and acquitted him of the charges relating to same, the Court convicted him of the charges relating to the receipt of monies above the threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. The Court held that though he was a victim of circumstances, the law is trite and ignorance of same cannot be an excuse.

The Court, in the exercise of its discretion under Section 311 of the ACJA and after receiving character evidence in favour of Dr. Okupe under Section 310 of the ACJA had sentenced Dr. Okupe to 2 years imprisonment (to run concurrently) or an option of the fine of N500,000 (consecutively) for each count. Dr. Okupe immediately exercised the option of a fine and has been enjoying his freedom.

The said appeal was filed by his lawyer, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN on Thursday, 16 March 2023 within the constitutional timeframe provided for by Law. The crux of Dr. Okupe’s appeal is that he had received the said sums in cash not in his individual capacity but on behalf of the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs and under the instructions of the Ex-President and hence, should not be penalized unjustly.

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