Student jailed 3 years for money laundering

HandcuffsChristopher Animako, a 26-year-old student, was on Friday sentenced to three years imprisonment for money laundering and fraud.

The convict pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but the court proved his guilt and accordingly convicted him.

Animako defrauded a Norwegian, Anita Hintay Bustamante to part with $39,963 under the pretext of setting up a business in Ghana, but failed to do so.

The court, presided by Justice Francis Obiri, a High Court judge, sitting with additional responsibilities, ordered that the money should be sent to the Norwegian widow within two weeks.

The court heard that Ms. Bustamante borrowed the money from a bank.

Passing sentence, Justice Obiri said although Animako was a first offender, the offence of money laundering was unbecoming and could scare investors.

Animako’s lawyer prayed the court to impose a non custodial sentence as he had not benefitted from the offence.

“I urge the court to impose a fine as he had shown remorse during the trial,” defence counsel said.

Mr Wilcost Ofori, counsel for the Economic and Organised Crime Office urged   a stiffer punishment to serve as a deterrent.

It is the case of the prosecution that Animako operates a cedi account with HFC Bank Ghana Limited, Adabraka branch.

That on his (Animako’s) mandate form to the bank, the account would be funded by revenue from his business.

However, prosecution contended that the account had been funded by foreign inflows equivalent to GH¢226,797 from May 2012 to March 2013.

Prosecution said on April 2013, Animako received another foreign remittance of $39,693 from one Anita Hintay Bustamante of Norway.

When Animako was quizzed over the monies, he could not provide information on the funds or the remitter, raising suspicion that the funds were received from proceeds of illegal activities.

Later, prosecution said Animako claimed the monies were sent by one Philip Gabah, his uncle for a hotel business.

Animako, however, could not provide any information on the said uncle during investigations and documentary proof of the said hotel business.

Prosecution said, intelligence report suggests that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities being perpetrated by Animako on different remitters, including Ms. Bustamante of Norway.

By Malik Sullemana 


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