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Man sentenced to 3 yrs in correctional centre for drug trafficking

A Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a 28-year-old businessman, Peter Ugwu, to a term of three years imprisonment and fotefeiture of N2 million to FG, over drug trafficking.

The convict was re-arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on an amended nine-count charge of drug trafficking.

He was first arraigned on Dec. 5, 2023, on a five-counts charge and had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The defendant, however, subsequently opted to change his plea to guilty and he was re-arraigned on Jan. 19.

He was again re-arraigned on June 6, following amendment of the charge by the prosecution, to include four more counts and he again, pleaded guilty to the charge.

On June 6, the prosecutor informed the court that the additional counts added was show that the defendant moved away monies from his account.

When asked how the defendant was able to withdraw money by POS despite being in NDLEA custody, the prosecutor told the court that the defendants had kept his ATM card with another person and ordered the withdrawal .

She told the court that she had a witness who will testify to the fact

When the case resumed, the prosecutor Mrs Juliana Iroabuchi, reviewed the facts of the case through a witness, Angela Mba, and tendered 18 exhibits in support of prosecution's case.

The witness told the court how the defendant admitted to have authorized his best friend to move away the monies from his bank with his credit card to avoid fotefeiture.

Iroabuchi also proved that the act by the defendants amounted to an aggravating factor.

She, then urged the court to proceed and convict the defendant based on his plea and the evidences tendered by the prosecution.

She argued that the defendant didn't plead guilty to the charge at the first instance, and that bail was granted and when NDLEA was to verify, he changed his plea .

The prosecutor, vehemently objected to option of fine on the grounds that the effect of drugs in the society is great .

She said that the punishment is life imprisonment with mandatory sentences of 15 years minimum,

In his verdict, Justice Ambrose Allagoa found the defendant guilty of the offence, and convicted him as charged .

After a plea for leniency on behalf of the convict by his counsel, Mr Dennis Wari, the court sentenced the convict to a term of three years imprisonment on each of the counts.

The court held that the terms shall run concurrently.

The court also ordered a fotefeiture of the sum of N2 million to the Federal Government and ordered a destruction of the narcotics recovered from the convict, by the NDLEA

According to the charge, the convict, a resident of Muscat Oman, committed the offence on Sept. 12, 2023, alongside one Ifeanyi who is at large.

He was apprehended at the departure hall, terminal 2 of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, during the outward clearance of passengers onboard a Qatar Airline flight to Doha.

He was said to have exported 7.50 kg of cannabis sativa, which he concealed in a black nylon bag covered with crayfish and bittterleaf.

The convict was also said to have withdrawn the sum of over N306,000 from his Access bank account, through a POS, while still in detention.

He was said to have done so, to avoid forefeiting same to the federal government.

The offence contravenes the provisions of section 11(b) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 Law of the Federative 2004.

It also contravenes the provisions of section 18(a)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2022.

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