The Labour Party’s (LP) general director of campaigns, Doyin Okupe, was convicted guilty of fraud on Monday.
A source claims that Okupe was sentenced to two years in prison by the Abuja Federal High Court for breaking the Money Laundering Act.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission filed 59 counts against Okupe, of which 26 were found to be true (EFCC).
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ruled that the 26 offenses, which each carried a 2-year prison penalty, would be heard one after the other.
However, Ojukwu offered a choice of a N500 000 fine for each of the counts, totaling N13 million.
She decided that if Okupe doesn’t pay the fee in time, he should be transferred to Kuje Correctional Center to fulfill his prison sentence.
Reactions have been sparked by the verdict.
Chuks Ibegbu, a former Ohanaeze Ndigbo deputy national publicity secretary, discussed the issue with DAILY POST and stated the following: “Okupe’s conviction would not affect Peter Obi’s chances. Obi is a hurricane, a tornado, a bandwagon, a pan-Nigerian movement, so Okupe’s conviction will not affect him.”
“He is a movement which has shown that Nigerians want to take back their country from the criminals that have held us down for the past years.
“Okupe has the right to appeal, and until he explores all his legal rights, Nigerians can’t conclude whether he’s guilty or not guilty.
“We are waiting for him to exercise his rights; hence we can’t conclude now, but for the hurricane, nothing will stop him because Nigerians want to recover their country from these vagabonds in power that have held us down for the past 50 years.”
Deji Adeyanju, an activist lawyer based in Abuja, agreed with Ibegbu that Okupe’s conviction would not have any impact on Obi’s chances of winning in 2023.
However, he emphasized the need for candidates to exercise caution when choosing members of their campaign council.
The activist claimed in a conversation with DAILY POST that the LP Presidential campaign director cannot be charged with corruption since he was unable to determine whether the funds he got from ONSA were coming from an illegal source.
“I have now studied excerpts of My Lord, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu’s judgment in Okupe’s case and can confirm it is a sound decision. The basis of her conviction of Okupe is on the issue of receiving cash above the prescribed N5m for individuals as stipulated in the Money Laundering Act.
“I insist that Okupe wasn’t in a position to know whether the money from ONSA was from an illicit fund and as such no burden can be placed on him because the duty of care will always be on Dasuki, who ought to know.
“However, a crime was committed by accepting cash above N5m by Okupe. Doyin Okupe cannot be accused of any corruption whatsoever because he was not the NSA who stole public funds, but his only mistake is breaching the MLA by receiving cash above the lawfully prescribed sum. And almost all Nigerians make this mistake.
“Furthermore, it is my measured view that keeping Okupe on as DG of Obi’s campaign will not affect him in any way. Yes, I agree that candidates should normally do due diligence before appointing people into their campaign councils.”
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