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Naira abuse: Cubana, EFCC explore out-of-court settlement

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed June 5 for report of settlement in a case against celebrity bartender, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, over alleged abuse of the naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on April 17 arraigned Okechukwu on three counts of allegedly spraying and tampering with the naira notes during a social event at Eko Hotel in Lagos.

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

Justice Kehinde Ogundare had then adjourned the case until May 2, for hearing of the preliminary objection and trial.

When the case was called on Thursday, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari appeared for the prosecution, while Mr Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), announced appearance for the defendant .

The defence counsel informed the court that the parties were exploring a settlement and have applied that the matter be settled pursuant to the provisions of Section 14(2) of the EFCC Act.

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He told the court that if the prosecution confirmed the position as true, there would be a need to apply for a withdrawal of the defence’s preliminary objection and allow for a reconciliation.

In response, the prosecutor confirmed the position as stated by the defence counsel and told the court that the application was still being considered.

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

The court, consequently, adjourned the case until June 5, for the report of settlement.
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 Hotels and Suites.

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

The EFCC had, on April 5, secured the conviction of popular cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye, also known as Bobrisky, on similar charges for which he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. (NAN)

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Sandra Umeh
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