Saturday, May 18, 2024

EFCC to arraign Cubana Chief Priest for naira abuse

The charge filed on April 4 said Cubana Chief Priest will be arraigned at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on April 17.

• April 16, 2024
Cubana Chief Priest (Credit: Facebook)
Cubana Chief Priest (Credit: Facebook)

Socialite and Instagram influencer Pascal Okechukwu, alias Cubana Chief Priest, is facing a three-count charge of abusing the naira preferred by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The news comes days after Peoples Gazette with video evidence in a report named Cubana Chief Priest as one of the currency abusers left to walk freely following the speedy prosecution and sentencing of crossdresser Idris “Bobrisky” Okuneye to six months’ imprisonment.

The charge, filed on April 4 by the anti-graft agency’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), and seven other lawyers, stated that Mr Okechukwu will be arraigned at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court before Justice Kehinde Ogundare on April 17.

The EFCC said Cubana Chief Priest “tampered” with naira notes by spraying N500 denomination for two hours during a social event in 2020. It also accused him of abusing the currency in January 2024. 

“That you, Okechukwu Pascal, sometime in 2020, 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 for two hours, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007,” count 2 of the charge read.

Count 3 of the charge 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 commission, in a statement on Sunday, said the fight against naira abusers took a new turn following the launch of a “Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarisation of the Economy” on February 7 as operatives are determined to bring money offenders to book regardless of their social standing.

In response to the deluge of criticisms accusing the commission of being selective in enforcing justice only on everyday citizens, the EFCC said many celebrities were already on their radar for misusing the naira and that a chunk of them had already been invited for questioning.

“At the moment, the commission is investigating several celebrities involved in naira abuse,” stated Dele Oyewale, head of the EFCC media unit, Sunday evening. “Many of them have made useful statements to the commission, and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter.”

The anti-graft commission emphasised that there would be no preferential treatment in prosecuting money abusers, noting there would be “no sacred cow.”

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