The Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has arrested two Lebanese for allegedly attempting to launder $890,000 through the Port Harcourt airport.
Area Controller of the Command, Auwal Mohammed, said the duo of Dina Khalil and Chamseddine Mohammed were arrested at the international wing of the airport after a search of their luggage on their way to Lebanon.
While handing over the suspects to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Port Harcourt for further investigation, the Controller noted that $10,000 was the highest amount of cash approved that could be moved out of the country under the customs’ law.
He disclosed that Khalil was in possession of $670,000 while Mohammed was with $220,000 when they were arrested.
“After scrutiny of their hand luggage at the Port Harcourt International Airport, it was uncovered that the two suspects were in possession of $890,000. They were immediately arrested and brought to the command headquarters. Their statements were taken and physical counting of the money in their presence confirmed the above amount.
“The suspects were arrested because they attempted to smuggle the money out of the country without making proper declaration to the officials of NCS,” he stated.
The customs boss said that after investigation, the cash might be forfeited to the Federal Government as stipulated by law.
Principal Detective of EFCC, Port Harcourt, Macaulay Olayinka, assured that the anti-graft agency would speedily and thoroughly investigate the matter, adding that if found culpable, the suspects would be prosecuted accordingly.
He said that the money recovered from the suspects had been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Rivers branch, for safe-keeping.