Man Bags Jail Term for Currency Racketeering in Lagos

The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, secured the conviction and sentencing of one Fabian John Itafor before Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos for an offence bordering on currency racketeering.

He was arraigned on a one-count charge.

The count reads: “That you, Fabian John Itafor on or about the 24th day of February. 2024 at Leisure Event Center, Wale Olateju Street, Victoria Island, in Lages within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court hawked the sum of N347,000.00 (Three Hundred and Forty-seven Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(4)l of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007.”

He pleaded “guilty” to the charge when it was read to him.

Following his guilty plea, prosecuting counsel, A.S. Wara called on Jude Owolabi, an operative of the EFCC, to review the facts of the case.

Owolabi told the court that the defendant was arrested on February 24, 2024, hawking naira notes at Leisure Event Center, Wale Olateju Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

“His arrest followed credible intelligence received by the Commission,” he said. According to him, ATM cards, a POS machine, N347,000, $1 and 5 Euros were recovered from him at the point of arrest.

“In his statement, he confessed that he was into money racketeering and hawking of Naira notes,” he said. Defence counsel, Kolapo Gbadamosi, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy by granting him a non-custodial sentence or an option of fine.

Justice Ogundare convicted and sentenced him to three months community service with an option of fine of N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira Only).

The Judge also ordered that the POS machine, N347,000.00, $1 and 5 Euros recovered from him at the point of arrest be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Itafor bagged his imprisonment by flouting extant laws against Naira mutilation. Specifically, he was arrested for hawking new Naira notes for commercial purposes. He was later prosecuted and convicted.

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