Businessman Bags 140 Years Jail Term For Counterfeiting Foreign Cheques



A Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday convicted and sentenced a businessman, Mr. Jones Patrick Biyere, to a total of 140 years imprisonment, for counterfeiting foreign cheques.

Justice Mohammed Idris convicted and sentenced the businessman, who has been standing trial before the court since 2006, after finding him guilty of the 13 counts charge, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

The convict was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each on count one to 11, while sentenced to 15 years each on counts 12 and 13, making a total of 140 years imprisonment.

In sentencing the convict, Justice Idris said, “the prosecution has been able to prove its case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt. The second prosecution witness, confirmed to the court that the exhibit belongs to the defendant and the defendant admitted same, and that it was meant to be sent out of the country. He failed to give reasons why he wanted to send this exhibit abroad, knowing that they were fake.

“The evidence of the defendant is incapable of puncturing the evidence given by the prosecution.

“In view of the allucutor by his counsel that he is a first time offender and the breadwinner of his family, I shall temper justice with mercy in sentencing him. The trial took long time due to the attitude of the defendant who deployed every delay tactics.

“Consequently, I found the defendant guilty of all counts of the charge, and he is hereby sentence to 10 years in counts one to 11, and 15 years in counts 12 and 13.

The judge, however said that the jail terms shall run concurrently.

The convict’s trial commenced sometimes in 2006, before the court on a 13 count-charge, bordering on conspiracy, forgery, and exporting of forged cheques outside Nigeria.

The EFCC had in an amended charge marked FHC/L/288c/06, stated that the convict alongside one Tony Adeyemi and one Eddy, now at large, had on or about May 31, 2006, at 15, McCarthy Street, Onikan, Lagos, fraudulently forged and signed 10 Lloyd’s TBS Cheques with numbers 002108; 002104; 000096; 00091; 005263; 005260; 000147; 000144; 000546; and 000550.

He was also said to have attempted to export the said Cheques to foreign country through the offices of United Parcel Services (UPS), situated at Somolu and Gbagada.

The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to sections 3(2)a 6(2)(b) and 6(1) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Cap. 410, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, as amended by Act. 62 of 1999, and punishable under Sections 3 and 3(b) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act No. 22 of 1984 Cap. 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge, when first arraigned before the court in 2006, and was admitted to bail.

In the course of trial, the convict bail was revoked by Justice Idris after he failed and refused to attend trial on severally adjourned dates.

Judge had also foreclosed the convict’s right to open his defence, due to alleged prolong delay tactics.

The court had noted that in further delaying the case, the accused had changed counsels, who at different occasions sought for adjournments to enable them prepare their defence. The actions, which Justice Idris declared as ‘ploy to continued delay and frustrate the case, which he inherited from two judges of the court’.



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