Nigerian govt official indicted as UAE convicts 6 Nigerians for wiring $.7m to Boko Haram
Six Nigerians convicted and sentenced for terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have had their convictions upheld by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal.
According to Daily Trust, the appellate court upheld the life imprisonment sentences passed on Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu.
It also affirmed the 10-year prison sentences imposed on Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa.
The six men had been convicted and sentenced by a lower court in 2019 for funding a terror group (Boko Haram) by facilitating transfers of money from Dubai to Nigeria for alleged terror operations.
Their appeals to a superior court was dismissed before the appellate court also affirmed their conviction and sentences.
According to prosecutors, the convicts were between 2015 and 2016 involved in different cash transfers allegedly in favour of Boko Haram to the tune of USD782, 000.00.
The act was said to be contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.
The National Security Bureau which investigated the convicts said it “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram”.
Quoting court documents, Daily Trust reported that the accused were apprehended between April 16 and 17, 2017, and their homes searched according to the search warrant issued by the National Security Prosecution office dated April 16, 2017.
Adamu and Abubakar were charged for joining Boko Haram knowingly in contravention of Article 22/2 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017 punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Alhassan, Musa, Yusuf and Isa were charged with assisting the terror group knowingly, in contravention of Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, and punishable by life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law.
UAE authorities said that the transactions that landed the six men in prison were initiated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria.
One of the Boko Haram agents was identified as “Alhaji Sa’idu” and the other as “Alhaji Ashiru”.
The so-called Alhaji Sa’idu was said to be a senior member of Boko Haram responsible for facilitiing the group’s access to sponsors’ funds, while Alhaji Ashiru was described as a “a Nigerian government official” who doubles as a Boko Haram collaborator funnelling misappropriated public funds to the terror group.
Alhaji Sa’idu was said to carry out his operations by arranging an Arab person on a visit to Dubai from Turkey to hand over an amount of money in US dollars to one of the convicts who would, in turn, advise his Nigerian-based business partners to hand over the naira equivalent of the amount to him (Alhaji Sa’idu).
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However, family members of the onvicts maintained that the transactions were for legitimate purposes, being that they were bureau de change (BDC) operators before their arrest.
They explained that the BDC operators were likely deceived into transferring funds to Boko Haram members in the course of their legitimate bureau de change operations.
The Attorney–General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said his office was aware of the case and had written the UAE seeking records of proceedings but was yet to get feedback.