The court of appeal in Sokoto has sentenced two Chinese nationals, Meng Wei Kun and Xu Kuai, to six years imprisonment for fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the convicts before a federal high court in Sokoto on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, money laundering, and attempted bribery to the tune of N50 million.
The trial court had struck out the charges against the defendants.
However, delivering judgment in the appeal filed by the EFCC on Friday, the court of appeal led by Abubakar Talba, found the respondents guilty of two out of the three counts.
The judge said “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”.
Talba held that the EFCC was able to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
“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,” the judge said.
“Without doubt, the trial judge grossly misconceived that no offence was committed.
“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.
“The respondents are Chinese and an offence of this gravity in their home country attracts the death penalty yet here they are corrupting our country.
“The courts of the federal republic of Nigeria will not condone corruption in any way. As President Muhammadu Buhari has said, “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria
The court held that the appeal was “immensely meritorious” and convicted and sentenced the Chinese nationals to three years on each of the two counts.
However, each of the convicts were given an option of N10 million fine on each count.