News

April 18, 2024

Naira abuse: Cubana Chief Priest arraigned, pleads not guilty

Video: Cubana Chief Priest throws house party after getting N10m bail

…Granted N10m bail
By Innocent Anaba

LAGOS—Businessman and socialite, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, was, yesterday, arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for alleged spraying and tampering with naira notes at social events.

Cubana Chief Priest, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was, however, admitted to bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.

Justice Ogundare is trial judge in the matter.

Cubana Chief Priest is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

At the arraignment, EFCC through its counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, informed the court that the defendant committed the alleged offence on February 13, 2024, by spraying the naira notes at Eko Hotel, Lagos, while dancing during a social event.

Prosecution further informed the court that Cubana Chief Priest while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 notes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by spraying the same for two hours.

The commission further said sometime in 2020, during a social event in Lagos, Cubana tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the CBN, by spraying the same for two hours.

It added that in January 2024, in Lagos State, during a social event, Cubana tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the CBN by spraying same.

The offences committed, according to the commission, are contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.

But the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Afterwards, his counsel, Mr Chikaosolu Ojukwu, SAN, prayed the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms.
Ojukwu had before the arraignment of the defendant, told the court that he has a preliminary application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try the defendant.

He further informed the court that the defence filed a 25-paragraph of bail application dated April 17, 2024, in support of the application.

Ojukwu relied on section 163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

According to him, “If your lordship grants him bail and gives 14 days, in my honour, I will perfect his bail. He is sick and the EFCC, brought him from the hospital this morning. He has palpitation of the heart, if you look at his weight.

“It is not in every case that remand is necessary. He has over 1000 employees who are hungry even at this moment they are praying for my lord to grant him bail on liberal terms.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution did not oppose the bail application.

Justice Ogundare, in a short ruling, granted Cubana bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
According to the judge, “One of the sureties must have landed property within the court’s jurisdiction with title documents. The defendant must submit his international passport to the court registrar.

“The bail must be perfected within seven days as taken by the SAN. Failure to perfect the bail conditions, the defendant would be remanded at the prison.”

The court adjourned till May 2, 2024, for hearing of the preliminary objection by the defence.

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