Celebrity Gist

Nigerian Actress Jailed for Six Months Over Defacement of New Naira Notes

In a recent legal development, Nigerian actress Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin has been sentenced to six months imprisonment for her involvement in an incident where she sprayed and stepped on new naira notes during a social event in Lagos State. The verdict was delivered by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on February 1, 2024.

Omoseyin was initially charged by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on February 13, 2023. She pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on February 15, 2023. The charges included tampering with N100,000 issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria during a social occasion, which is a violation of Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.

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At the resumed hearing on Thursday, February 1, 2024, Omoseyin changed her plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” in light of compelling evidence against her. The prosecution counsel, Z.B. Atiku, called upon Abubakar Mohammed Marafa, an EFCC operative, to present the facts of the case.

Marafa explained that the defendant was arrested by officers of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on February 1, 2023. Omoseyin was then handed over to the EFCC on February 2, 2023, for further investigation. The defendant admitted to spraying N200 and N100 naira notes during a friend’s wedding on January 28, 2023.

Various pieces of evidence, including the defendant’s statement, forensic reports of her phone, video footage from the event center, and statements from the event center’s representatives, were presented in court and admitted as exhibits. With overwhelming evidence, Justice Aneke convicted Omoseyin as charged.

During the sentencing, the defense counsel, Afuye Adegbola, appealed for leniency, emphasizing that the actress is a first-time offender, a mother of one, and expresses remorse. The judge, however, sentenced Omoseyin to six months imprisonment, effective immediately, with an alternative option of a N300,000 fine to be paid into the consolidated revenue account of the federation.

Omoseyin’s arrest by ICPC operatives came after a video of her spraying and stepping on the newly redesigned naira notes at a party went viral. In addition to the imprisonment, she had a Range Rover seized at the point of arrest.

The case highlights the legal consequences of defacing currency notes, even in the context of social events, and serves as a reminder of the need to uphold the integrity of the national currency.

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