Former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has appealed his conviction by Justice I. L. Ojukwu of the Federal High Court.
Okupe had been convicted for receiving cash above the permitted threshold on December 19, 2022.
While the Federal High Court had held that the Prosecution had failed to prove the charges of money laundering against Okupe and acquitted him of the charges relating to same, the court convicted him of the charges relating to the receipt of monies above the threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The court held that though he was a victim of circumstances, the law is trite and ignorance of the same cannot be an excuse.
The Court, in the exercise of its discretion under Section 311 of the ACJA and after receiving character evidence in favour of Okupe under Section 310 of the ACJA had sentenced Okupe to two years imprisonment (to run concurrently) or an option of the fine of N500,000 (consecutively) for each count. The former aide, however, exercised the option of a fine and has been enjoying his freedom.
The said appeal was filed by his lawyer, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, on Thursday, March 16, 2023, within the constitutional timeframe provided for by Law.
The crux of Okupe’s appeal is that he had received the said sums in cash not in his capacity but on behalf of the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs and under the instructions of the former President and hence, should not be penalized unjustly.