Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, found the defendants guilty of money counterfeiting to the tune of $269,000.00 USD and sentenced each of them to two years in prison. Adekunle Akinsinde Alabi, Bakare Taofeek Ajibola, and Olawepo Segun Ayinde were each given the same term. Oweibo delivered the verdict after an oral argument that took place in Ikoyi, which is located in the Lagos metropolitan area.
One of the charges states as follows: “That you, Adekunle Akinsinde Alabi, Bakare Taofeek Ajibola, and Olawepo Segun Ayinde, on the 20th of January 2023 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, had in your possession the sum of $269.000 USD (Two Hundred and Sixty-Nine Thousand United States Dollars) worth of counterfeit currency, contrary to and punishable under Section 5(1)
They initially pleaded “not guilty” to all four counts of the charge that was made against them. This was the initial step in the legal process.
However, when they were shown the mountain of evidence that stood against them, they quickly changed their “not guilty” plea to a “guilty” one. As a result, the accusations that were brought against them had to be revised as a result of this change in their plea.
Following the entry of guilty pleas by the defendants, the attorney for the prosecution, G.C. Akaogu, contacted Okara Godwin, an agent of the EFCC, to conduct an investigation into the evidence.
Okara stated in front of the judge and the audience that the defendants were arrested at some point during the month of January 2023.
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“Upon their arrest, they were provided the opportunity to write their statements, and investigations as well as the documentation of forensic evidence were carried out,” the sentence reads. “They were also given the opportunity to write their statements.”
Additionally, Akaogu requested that their extrajudicial statements, admission of confessional statement forms, counterfeit notes, and forensic investigation documents from the EFCC laboratory be brought in court as evidence.
The judge allowed the prosecution to present them as exhibits A, B, C, D, and E, and then found the defendants guilty of the allegations that had been brought against them.
The attorney who was representing the prisoners in court, Mercy Akhabue Ozumobi, argued for mercy by claiming that her clients “are ignorant and were used.” The judge denied the petition. They are the primary breadwinners for their family and harbor feelings of guilt over the decisions they have made in the past.
Justice Oweibo handed down a sentence of two years in prison to each of the defendants. Their sentences will begin to run from the day they were arrested in January, although they have the option of having their sentences reduced to a fine of N500,000 if they so choose.
As a direct result of intelligence reports collected from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States, operatives of the NDLEA, working in conjunction with the EFCC, were able to detain the accused party on January 19, 2023, in the Oniru region of Lagos state. This was accomplished through a joint operation.