How Nigerian Court Sentenced Chinese Man To Jail Over Naira Mutilation


A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State has convicted a Chinese national, Li Lei Lei of mutilation of the Nigerian currency — the Naira.

The presiding judge, Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo, in his ruling, subsequently sentenced him to a two-year jail term.

This was sequel to the lawsuit filed by the Lagos State Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

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The anti-graft agency had arraigned the Chinese man on a four-count charge which bothers on tampering of the Nigerian currency note, an offence punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Establishment) Act.

One of the count reads: “That you, Li Lei Lei, about the 17th day of May, 2022, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, tampered with One Thousand Naira (N1,000) Note, with serial number 947882 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Establishment) Act, Cap C4, Vol.1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.”

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During the court proceedings, the prosecution counsel, Ayanfe Ogunshina, said Lei-Lei was arrested on May 17, 2022, while trying to board a flight to Kenya.

He also told the court that, while the Immigration officers were searching for drugs and incriminating items in the convict’s luggage, he angrily tore to pieces the Naira notes to the tune of Three Thousand, Two Hundred Naira (N3, 200).

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Lei Lei pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

Justice Oweibo found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to six months imprisonment on each count, with an option of fine in the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000.00).

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