Business mogul arraigned for illegal possession of 448 traveler’s cheques

business mogul, Jonathan Odu Isikwei, has appeared before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, over unlawful possession of at least 448 traveler’s cheques.

Prosecution witness, Alala Erondu, told Justice Idris how Isikwei was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, following his illegal possession of the cheques.

The witness, who is an official of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, told the court that he and his colleagues arrested the defendant while trying to board a Lufthansa Airline to Brussels,
Belgium.

Erondu recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had sometimes in 2017, arraigned Isikwei before the court on a 15-count charge bearing on possession of counterfeit currencies to the tune of CAD $17,500,  USD $14,300, but he pleaded not guilty to the
charge.

Speaking on how he arrested the suspect, Erondu said while he was at his duty post with his team, he halted Isikwei as he was about to get aboard Lufthansa airline to
Brussels.

The witness told the court, “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; that the parcel was given to him by his friend. After long arguments, he agreed to open it, and we found in it 448 pieces of traveler’s cheques of different banks in Europe and
America.

“Based on that, he was taken to our office for further investigation and after concluding preliminary investigation, our chairman handed over the defendant to the EFCC for further investigation, because the alleged offence committed was not in our jurisdiction.”

Prosecuting counsel, Ola tendered a Belgian International passport recovered from the defendant, while the 488 traveler’s cheques recovered from him were also tendered as exhibits before the court.

One of the charges against the defendants reads, “That you, Jonathan Odu Isikwei, on or about the 18th day of September, 2015 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court had, in your possession, negotiable instrument of Postbank 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 the Murtala Muhammed 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.”

The trial judge, Justice Idris, then fixed March 14 and 15 for the continuation of trial.