Breaking

Naira abuse: Court strikes out charge against Cubana Chief Priest

Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, struck out a charge against celebrity bartender, Pascal Okechukwu (Cubana Chief Priest), over alleged abuse of the Naira.

The judge struck out the charge following the adoption of terms of settlement between Cubana and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had arraigned Okechukwu on April 17, on a three-count charge of allegedly spraying and tampering with the Naira notes during a social event at the Eko Hotel in Lagos.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of N10 million.

At the last adjourned date on May 2, defence counsel, Mr Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), had informed the court that parties were exploring settlement and had applied that the matter be settled pursuant to the provisions of section 14(2) of the EFCC Act.

Following the position, defence counsel had then applied for a withdrawal of a preliminary objection filed by defence, and since there was no objection from the prosecution, the court granted same.

The court had then consequently, adjourned the case until June 5, for report of settlement.

On June 5, the case could not go on following absence of the defence counsel who had reportedly written to the court praying for an adjournment.

The court had then adjourned the case until June 25 (today) for report of settlement.

When the case was called on Tuesday, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari appeared for the prosecution while Mr Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN) appeared for the defence.

Bilikisu then informed the court that the prosecution had filed the terms of settlement dated June 24 and adopted same.

In response, the defence counsel said he agreed with what the prosecutor said and equally adopted same.

He thanked the court for its indulgence, adding that part of the obligations contained in the said terms had been performed.

He then urged the court to make the consequential orders of dismissing the case.

In a short ruling, the court held that:

“Upon the agreement of the prosecution and defence pursuant to the EFCC Establishment Act, the agreement having been presented to the court, this charge is hereby struck out as the defendant is hereby cautioned.”

Meanwhile, a copy of the terms of settlement which was obtained by newsmen in court provided as follows:

“The agreement applies only to the findings relating to contravention of the law contained in the pending charge preferred against the defendant.

“The defendant shall enter into a bond with the EFCC to be of good behaviour and never indulge in any Economic and Financial Crime or related offences.

“The Defendant shall engage in rigorous and intensive sensitisation and/or campaign against the abuse of coins and notes issued under the CBN Act as legal tender.

“The defendant shall bi-monthly post on his various social media handles a minimum of two video clips of his sensitisation/campaign against abuse of naira and sundry offences.

“The Defendant shall pay to the consolidated revenue fund of Federation such sum not below the sum of N10 million only upon the execution of this agreement,”

In the charge, the defendant was said to have tampered with the funds in the denomination of N500, while dancing at the social event in Eko Hotel.

The offence contravenes the provisions of section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act of 2007.