Arraignment for Naira Abuse:Cubana is already in our custody-EFCC

  • appear in court today

Caption:Cubana spraying Naira at a party

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,vEFCC says it has detained businessman and socialite, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, preparatory to his arraignment today (Wednesday) before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Cubana Chief Priest will be arraigned before Justice Kehinde Ogundare on three counts bordering on abuse of naira, by allegedly spraying and tampering with the nation’s currency at a social event, contrary to the provisions of the Central Bank Act of 2007.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, confirmed the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday.

Oyewale revealed, “Yes, the Cubana Chief Priest is in our custody, and he’ll be arraigned in court tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Meanwhile, in a suit filed on April 4, 2024, by the EFFC’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) and seven other lawyers representing the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, it was alleged that Pascal Okechukwu, on February 13, 2024, at Eko Hotel, within the jurisdiction of the court, while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 notes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, by spraying same for two hours, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.

In the charge marked FHC/L/ 246/2024, obtained by The PUNCH, the commission also alleged that sometime in 2020, during a social event in Lagos, Cubana Chief Priest tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, by spraying the same for two hours.

In Count 3, it was alleged: “That you, Okechukwu Pascal, sometime in January 2024, in Lagos during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.”

The EFCC, on April 5, 2024, secured the conviction of popular cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye, also known as Bobrisky, on similar charges for which he was sentenced to six-month imprisonment on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Earlier on Sunday, the EFCC revealed that it was probing several celebrities over alleged abuse of Naira notes.

In a statement, its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, said, “Many of them have made useful statements to the commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter.

“The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

In response to critics, the anti-graft agency further clarified that it would overlook old videos exposing such misdemeanour, while noting that it would, however, probe new cases.

The clarification was in response to the backlash against the commission over the arrest, detention, arraignment, prosecution, and subsequent conviction of Bobrisky over abuse and mutilation of Naira notes.

The EFCC stressed that while the commission had been inundated with videos depicting naira abuse, it would focus on investigating and prosecuting new cases of such infractions.

The EFCC noted that while the commission appreciated the resurgence of old videos of Naira abuse making the rounds, it was, however, sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarisation of the Economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024.

Oyewale wrote, “Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the commission to video recordings of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life.

“These gestures amply demonstrate the rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“The commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira,” he said.

Expressing gratitude for the public’s engagement in combating naira abuse, Oyewale assured that the EFCC remains committed to probing and prosecuting individuals involved in such acts.

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