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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cubana Chief Priest chooses plea bargain in Naira abuse case

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A Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday adjourned the criminal case instituted against internet socialite Okechukwu Pascal, A.K.A Cubana Chief Priest, due to the prayer for a plea bargain he initiated with the EFCC.

At the resumption of trial on Thursday, Cubana Chief Priest’s counsel, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, informed Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the defendant’s intention to toe the path of plea bargain subject to Section 14 of the EFCC Establishment Act.

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“We have looked at the charge under Section 14 of the EFCC Act, which encourages plea bargain agreements.

EFCC counsel Bilkisu Buhari confirmed the position.

Mr Ojukwu then prayed for the court to give the parties a short date for them to return and update the court on the deal.

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He also withdrew the earlier preliminary objection he filed, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge.

“In the interest of justice, we’re urging the court to strike out the motion since the prosecution has not responded to it,” he added.

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Granting his prayer, Justice Ogundare struck out the preliminary objection.

The judge also adjourned the case till 5 June for a report of the plea bargain agreement.

The EFCC had, on 17 April, arraigned the embattled socialite on a three-count charge bordering on abuse of the Naira.

One of the counts reads: That you, Okechukwu Pascal, on 13th February 2024, at Eko Hotel Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, while dancing during a social event, tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 (Five Hundred Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.”

Unlike his colleague, Bobrisky, who admitted to abusing the Naira in court, Cubana pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge filed by the EFCC on 4 April.

He pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge filed against him by the EFCC while the court granted him a N10 million bail.

The EFCC accused the celebrity barman of abusing the Naira twice in 2024 and once in 2020.

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