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2 Bags Jail Terms In Lagos For Currency Counterfeiting, Another Remanded


The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday,   March 18, 2024, secured the conviction and sentencing of one Iliyasu Garba and Joseph Ude before Justice K.O. Ogundare of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos for offences bordering on counterfeiting and possession of counterfeit currency.

They were arraigned alongside one Benjamin Opara on a five-count charge bordering on counterfeiting and possession of counterfeit currency.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Benjamin Opara, Iliyasu Garba and Joseph Ude on or about the 10th November, 2023 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court,conspired amongst yourselves to deal in counterfeit currency, to wit,the sum of $10,000.00 (Ten thousand Dollars) denomination numbered  MK43968653A contrary to Section 6(2)(b) and punishable under section 4 (1)of Counterfeit Currency (Special provisions) Act cap.C35,Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”


However, while Garba and Ude pleaded “guilty”,  Opara, however,  pleaded “not guilty”.


Thereafter, prosecuting counsel, T.J. Banjo, called Adamu Yakubu, an operative of the EFCC, to review the facts of the case.

Yakubu told the court that the Nigerian Customs Service handed over one Ifeanacho Ugbor Marcellinus to the EFCC following his arrest for being in possession of counterfeit United States dollar bills to the tune of $10,000 (Ten Thousand United States Dollars).

According to him,  upon interrogation, Marcellinus said that he was not aware that they were counterfeit notes. “He confessed that the counterfeit currency was given to him by Joseph Ude for onward delivery to someone in Brazil,” he said.

Yakubu further told the court that Ude was subsequently arrested and he confessed that he purchased the counterfeit dollars from Garba at the rate of N1,500 per $100 at a time in November 2023 when the dollar was going at N132,000 for $100. “During investigation, Iliyasu Garba also admitted that he was into currency counterfeiting, but he claimed that he bought the counterfeit money from Benjamin Opara,” he said.


He testified further that Opara was the one printing the counterfeit currency.  “He sold it to Iliyasu Garba at N800 for 100 dollars, who In turn sold to Joseph at N1,500 per $100,” he said.


He added that forensic analysis by the Forensic Department confirmed that they were counterfeit dollar notes.


The prosecution thereafter, sought to tender, in evidence, their extrajudicial statements, printouts of the forensic analysis and the counterfeit currencies.


Justice Ogundare admitted and marked them as exhibits and declared the second and third defendants guilty as charged.


Counsel to the second defendant, AbdulMalik Ibrahim and counsel to the third defendant, Gideon Igwebuike, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy and to grant a non-custodial sentence or an  option of fine.


Justice Ogundare convicted and sentenced  Garba and Ude guilty to six months imprisonment from the day of arrest with an option of fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira).


The court adjourned till April 22, 2024 for the bail hearing of Opara.  The judge remanded him at the Correctional Centre.

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