Cubana Chief Priest Detained Over Abuse of the Naira

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained Pascal Okechukwu, widely known as Cubana Chief Priest, a businessman and socialite, in preparation for his arraignment before the Federal High Court in Lagos today. The charges against him are related to the alleged abuse of the naira, specifically for spraying and tampering with the currency at a social event, which is in violation of the Central Bank Act of 2007. Cubana Chief Priest is scheduled to appear before Justice Kehinde Ogundare on three counts.

Confirming Cubana Chief Priest’s custody, the EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, stated that the arraignment is set for Wednesday. This development comes on the heels of the EFCC’s recent conviction of Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, on similar charges. Bobrisky was sentenced to six months in prison for his involvement in the abuse of the naira.

In a suit filed on April 4, 2024, by the EFCC’s prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), and seven other lawyers representing the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, it was alleged that Cubana Chief Priest, on February 13, 2024, at Eko Hotel in Lagos, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 notes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying them for two hours. This act was said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act 2007.

The EFCC also alleged that Cubana Chief Priest engaged in similar conduct during a social event in Lagos in 2020, where he sprayed funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria for two hours. Another allegation states that in January 2024, during a social event in Lagos, Cubana Chief Priest again tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying them.

The EFCC has emphasized its commitment to investigating and prosecuting individuals involved in the abuse of the naira. It has urged the public to comply with the laws governing the currency. The commission’s Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the Economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. Despite the circulation of old videos depicting naira abuse, the EFCC has stated that it will focus on investigating and prosecuting new cases of such infractions, demonstrating its unwavering dedication to combating financial crimes.

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