A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos Wednesday granted bail in the sum of N10 million to businessman, Pascal Okechukwu a.k.a Cubana Chief Priest charged with alleged naira abuse
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned the defendant on a three-count charge of allegedly spraying and tampering with the naira notes during a social event at Eko Hotel, Lagos.
When the case was called on Wednesday, Bilikisu Buhari appeared for the prosecution while Mr Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN) announced appearance for the defendant.
The defence counsel then first informed the court of a preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction and a bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.
He informed the court that the prosecution was not opposed to the same.
After the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In moving the bail application of the defendant, counsel urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
He told the court that the defendant was admitted by the prosecution following his health condition, adding that due to his weight, the defendant suffers palpitation
Besides, he told the court that the offence with which the defendant is charged is a misdemeanour and that the prescribed punishment ranges from a fine of N50,000 or an imprisonment term of six months.
He urged the court to grant bail on very liberal terms to the defendant as he is a first offender with no past criminal records.
Counsel also informed the court that the defendant is an employer of labour with over 1000 employees on his payroll, who are dependent on their jobs.
He, consequently, urged the court to grant his application as moved
In response, the prosecutor said she would leave the issue of bail to the discretion of the court.
Delivering judgment afterwards, Justice Kehinde Ogundare granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum
The court held that both sureties must be civil servants of level 16, adding that one of the sureties must be the owner of a landed property within jurisdiction.
The court also ordered the defendant to submit his passport to the court’s registry, and that the condition of bail be perfected within seven days.
The court ordered the defence counsel to produce the defendant for perfection of his bail conditions within stipulated time, otherwise the defendant would be sent to the custody of the Nigerian correctional service.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the case until May 2, for hearing of the preliminary objection.
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.
The EFCC on April 5 secured the conviction of popular cross-dresser Idris Okuneye, aka Bobrisky, on similar charges for which he was sentenced to six-month jail. NAN

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