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ABUSE OF NAIRA: Bobrisky begs court to convert imprisonment to fine



Nigerian transvestite, Idris Okuneye, better known in social circles as Bobrisky, has filed a notice of appeal in an attempt to overturn the maximum punishment of six months that a Federal High Court in Lagos had imposed on him.

Recall that Bobrisky was sentenced to six months in prison with no option of fine for abuse of the naira by Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday morning, April 12.

Bobrisky was charged on six counts, including money laundering and abuse of the Naira, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 5.

However, once he admitted to the crime, the court dropped the money laundering allegations against him but found him guilty of naira abuse. Additionally, the court ruled that he should be kept in the custody of the EFCC in Lagos.

On April 5, 2024, Bobrisky entered a guilty plea to the four charges of naira misuse that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had brought against him.

During the cross-dresser’s sentencing, the court stated that the ruling would serve as a deterrent to others who enjoy mistreating and disfiguring the naira.

However, Bimbo Kusanu, Bobrisky’s attorney, filed a notice of appeal on Monday, pleading with the Court of Appeal to overturn the maximum punishment.

Mr. Kusanu is requesting that the court substitute a N50,000 fine for the punishment on each count.

The appellant had no prior criminal convictions, and the trial court had given him the maximum penalty, according to the counsel in the notice of appeal.

READ ALSO:ABUSE OF NAIRA: EFCC encourages others to learn from Bobrisky’s mistake

The appeal reads thus in full: “The sentence of the lower court that imposed the maximum penalty of six months imprisonment without the option of a fine on the appellant, who is a first-time convict without a previous record of criminal conviction, is harsh.

“The learned trial judge erred in law and facts by his imposition of the maximum sentence of six months imprisonment terms against the appellant without the option of a fine, contrary to the provisions of Section 416(2)(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 that prescribed the mandatory guidelines on the trial court on the imposition of sentencing after criminal conviction of a first time offender as the appellant.

“The trial court imposed the maximum sentence on the appellant, who has no previous record of criminal conviction, when there are options to impose a lesser sentence under the provisions of the ADCJA.

“The sentence imposed by the trial court against the appellant is punitive, contrary to the mandatory provisions of the law on sentencing.

“The appellant has suffered a miscarriage of justice under the maximum sentence imposed by the learned trial court.

“The reasons adduced by the learned trial court for the imposition of maximum punishment on the appellant, which are essentially based on what foreigners think of abuse of naira, are perverse and out of tune with the reality of what the trial court should have considered to impose maximum punishment on the appellant.

“The intention of the provisions of the Central Bank Act 2007 that the appellant was charged with is for Nigerians not to tamper with naira and not what nationals of foreign countries view about tampering with naira.

“The trial court did not consider the positive antecedent of the appellant, who did not waste the precious judicial resources of the trial court when he pleaded guilty to the charge. The appellant honoured the invitation of the respondent, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on the first invitation during the investigation leading to the charge.

“The trial court failed to exercise his discretion judiciously and judicially in sentencing the appellant, which has occasioned a miscarriage of justice against the appellant.”

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