Cubana Chief Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Naira Abuse Charges in Lagos Court

Cubana Chief Priest pleads not guilty to naira abuse charges, granted ₦10M bail. The case highlights Nigeria's crackdown on currency misuse and raises questions about the prevalence of naira spraying at social events.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Cubana Chief Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Naira Abuse Charges  in Lagos Court

Cubana Chief Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Naira Abuse Charges in Lagos Court

Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of alleged naira abuse brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Nigerian businessman and socialite appeared before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday to face charges of tampering with and spraying the naira during social events.

According to the charges, Cubana Chief Priest is accused of violating the provisions of the Central Bank Act of 2007 by spraying and tampering with N500 banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria . The alleged offenses occurred on three separate occasions in 2020 and 2024, with the most recent incident taking place on February 13, 2024, at Eko Hotel in Lagos.

The EFCC claimed that Cubana Chief Priest tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 notes by spraying them for two hours while dancing at the event. The charges allege that he abused the nation's currency contrary to Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.

During the court proceedings, Cubana Chief Priest's lawyer, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, SAN, filed a preliminary objection challenging the court's jurisdiction and a bail application. Ojukwu argued that the offense is a misdemeanor with a punishment ranging from a fine of N50,000 to six months imprisonment, and that his client is a first-time offender with no criminal record.

Why this matters: The case against Cubana Chief Priest highlights the Nigerian authorities' efforts to crack down on the abuse of the national currency. It also raises questions about the prevalence of naira spraying at social events and the potential consequences for those who engage in such practices.

Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court granted Cubana Chief Priest bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum. The judge ordered that the bail conditions must be fulfilled within seven days and adjourned the case until May 2nd for trial and the hearing of pending applications. Cubana Chief Priest was released into the custody of his lawyer, who provided an undertaking to ensure his appearance in court and to perfect his bail within the stipulated time frame.

Key Takeaways

  • Cubana Chief Priest pleaded not guilty to 3 counts of naira abuse by EFCC.
  • He is accused of tampering with and spraying N500 notes at social events.
  • Charges allege violations of Central Bank Act 2007 on 3 occasions in 2020 and 2024.
  • Granted N10M bail, with trial adjourned to May 2nd.
  • Case highlights authorities' crackdown on naira abuse at social events.