Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed charges against Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, over alleged abuse of the Naira. The decision followed the adoption of a settlement agreement between the parties involved.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Okechukwu on April 17, 2024, on three counts related to spraying and tampering with Naira notes during an event at Eko Hotel in Lagos. Okechukwu, who pleaded not guilty, was granted bail of N10 million and released to his lawyer.

On May 2, 2024, Okechukwu’s defense counsel, Mr. Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), informed the court that a settlement was being explored under section 14(2) of the EFCC Act. Consequently, a preliminary objection filed by the defense was withdrawn without prosecution objection, and the case was adjourned to June 5, 2024, for a settlement report.

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However, the June 5 hearing was postponed due to the absence of the defense counsel, who requested an adjournment. The court then set a new date of June 25, 2024.

On the rescheduled date, EFCC prosecutor Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari and defense counsel Mr. Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN) confirmed the terms of the settlement dated June 24. Both parties adopted the agreement, and Ojukwu requested the court to dismiss the case.

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Justice Ogundare ruled, “Upon the agreement of the prosecution and defense pursuant to the EFCC Establishment Act, the agreement having been presented to the court, this charge is hereby struck out as the defendant is hereby cautioned.”

The terms of settlement, obtained by newsmen, included the following provisions:

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  1. The agreement pertains only to the charges against the defendant.
  2. The defendant must enter a bond with the EFCC to maintain good behavior and avoid economic and financial crimes.
  3. The defendant must conduct rigorous campaigns against the abuse of Naira notes.
  4. The defendant is required to post at least two sensitization videos on social media bi-monthly.
  5. The defendant must pay a sum not less than N10 million to the consolidated revenue fund of the Federation

The charges stemmed from an incident where Okechukwu allegedly tampered with N500 notes while dancing at a social event at Eko Hotel.