Home News Judiciary Cubana chief priest forfeits N10m as EFCC drops charges

Cubana chief priest forfeits N10m as EFCC drops charges

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

Ogundare threw out the charge following the adoption of terms of settlement between parties to the suit.

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

Okechukwu pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted N10 million bail and was released to his lawyer.

When the matter came up on 2 May, defence counsel, Mr. Chikaosolu Ojukwu 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, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) counsel then applied for a withdrawal of a preliminary objection filed by the defence, and since there was no objection from the prosecution, the court granted the same.

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

On the last day, the case could not go on as the defence counsel was absent from court and the court was then informed of the defence counsel’s letter to the court praying for an adjournment.

The court then adjourned the case until June 25, 2024, for a report of settlement.

When the case was called on Tuesday, EFCC’s prosecutor, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari informed the court that the prosecution had filed the terms of settlement dated 24 June and adopted the same.

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

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

Ojukwu urged the court to make the consequential orders of dismissing the case.

In a short ruling, Justice Ogundare 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 the 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 committed according to EFCC contravened section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act of 2007.

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