…reduces prison term to seven years

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has upheld the conviction of Faisal, the son of the imprisoned former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, for conspiracy and money laundering.

The PUNCH reported that Faisal was prosecuted and jailed by a Federal High Court in Abuja on a three-count charge prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He was sentenced to three years each in relation to counts one and three, and he got 14 years on count two.

Delivering a judgment on Thursday, a three-member panel of the Appellate Court however reduced the five years (in relation to counts two and three) to three years.

The court also reduced the sentence of 14 years (in relation to count two) to seven years, on the grounds that he is a first-time offender.

In the lead judgment by Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu, the court held that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja was right to have convicted Faisal but however said that, being a first-time offender, the trial court ought not to have handed the convict the maximum punishment prescribed by the laws under which he was charged.

Faisal was tried on a three-count charge and prosecuted by the EFCC for laundering N58.1 million.

At a point in the course of the trial, Faisal jumped bail and failed to attend court, following which the court conducted his trial in absentia.

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In a judgment on October 7, 2021, Justice Abang convicted Faisal and sentenced him to five years each on counts one and three.

The judge handed him 14 years jail term in respect of count two.

Justice Abang held that the EFCC proved beyond reasonable doubt that Faisal operated a fictitious bank account with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), through which his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, laundered the N58.1m

He found that the funds deposited into the account that was operated in the name of “Alhaji Faisal Farm 2” were sequentially withdrawn by the convict and his father, between October 2013 and June 2019.

Justice Abang held that the EFCC proved all the essential ingredients of the offences with which the convict was charged.

The judge ordered that Faisal, who was said to be 21 years old then, should be arrested anywhere he was found in Nigeria and remanded in any correctional centre to serve his jail term.

He added that in the event the convict was traced to anywhere outside the shores of the country, the Federal Government, “shall legally or lawfully commence extradition process to bring him into the country to serve the jail term.”

The judge further ordered that the company, through which the fund was laundered – Alhaji Faisal Farm 2 – should be wound up, with funds in its accounts forfeited to the government.

By Vision

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