How Brussels Bound Bizman Was Arrested At Lagos Air With 448 Traveler Cheques—NDLEA
A Prosecution Witness , Alala Erondu today told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos how a businessman, Jonathan Odu Isikwei was arrested at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos over illegal possession of 448 pieces of traveler cheques.
The witness, an official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA ) told the court that his colleagues and himself arrested the defendant while trying to board a Lufthansa Airline to Brussels, Belgium on September 18, 2015.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, on July 6, 2017 arraigned Isikwei before the court on a 15-count charge bordering on possession of counterfeit currencies to the tune of CAD $17,500,$14,300 and unlawful possession of 448 pieces of traveler cheques,
But he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Isikwei who was led in evidence before the court by the EFCC’s counsel, S T Ola, said that while he and his team were at Screening Point 1 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, they saw the defendant, who was to fly with Lufthansa Airline to Brussels, Belgium.
He added that the defendant was interrogated based on reasonable suspicion and that while he was being interrogated, we found a parcel in his possession and we asked him to open it, but he refused.
”He told us that he was not the owner of the parcel and that the parcel was giving to him by his friend , after a long arguments, he agreed to open it, and we found in it 448 pieces of traveler cheques of different banks in Europe and America.”
“Based on that, he was taken to our office for further investigation and after concluding our preliminary investigation, our chairman hand over the defendant to EFCC for further investigation.
”He was handed over to EFCC because the alleged offence committed was in our jurisdiction”, the witness told the court.
Prosecuting Counsel, Ola tendered Belgian International passport recovered from the defendant , 488 traveller cheques recovered from him were also tendered as exhibits before the court
The trial judge, Justice Idris has fixed March 14 and 15 for continuation of trial
One of the counts pressed against the defendants reads, “That you, Jonathan Odu Isikwei on or about the 18th day of September, 2015 at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court had in your possession, negotiable instrument of Post bank Frankfurt with registration number 29734, knowing it to be counterfeit and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 (1) (b) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, Cap C35, Vol.4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Another count reads, “That you, Jonathan Odu Isikwei, on or about the 18th day of September, 2015 at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court had in your possession, negotiable instrument of Gunnebo Canada Inc., with registration number 152501 and value of CAD $3, 500 (Three Thousand, Five Hundred Canadian Dollars), knowing it to be counterfeit and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 (1) (b) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, Cap C35, Vol. 4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”