Chinese national bags two-year jail term for tearing naira notes into pieces


By Emmanuel Obisue

Li Lei Lei, a Chinese national, has been sentenced to two years in prison for mutilating Nigerian currency notes totaling N3, 200.

He was sentenced by a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo.

Lei Lei who was arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on tampering with Nigerian currency note, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Establishment) Act.

“That you, Li Lei Lei, on or about the 17th day of May, 2022, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, 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 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,” one of the counts read.

Describing the facts of the case, the prosecution counsel, Ayanfe Ogunshina said Lei-Lei was arrested on May 17, while trying to board a flight to Kenya.

He also told the court that, while officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS were searching for drugs and incriminating items in the convict’s luggage, he angrily tore to pieces the Naira notes amounting to the said sum.

The counsel added that the defendant was, thereafter, arrested by officers of the Department of State Security, DSS, and handed over to the EFCC for subsequent investigation and prosecution.

The prosecution tendered the voluntary statements of the convict, which was written in Mandarin and translated into English by a known interpreter to the defendant.

The shredded Naira notes were also tendered to the prosecution from the DSS to the EFCC.

Meanwhile, Lei Lei pleaded guilty to the charges against him and Ogunshina, urged the court to convict him as charged and sentence him accordingly.

Justice Oweibo in his ruling found the defendant guilty and subsequently sentenced him to six months imprisonment on each count, with an option of fine in the sum of N200, 000.