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Nigerian Pilot Bags 140 Year Jail Term for Forging Foreign Cheques

By Michael Ojo
A Nigerian Pilot, Mr Jones Patrick Biyere was on Thursday sentenced to a total of 140 years imprisonment by a Federal High Court, Lagos after he was found guilty of a 13 count charge of forging foreign cheques. The charges were preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed in his judgement said that the “prosecution has proved this case beyond reasonable doubts, I find him guilty from count 1 to 13”.
It was a prolonged trial that lasted for 12 years as trial started in 2006. The convict will however have to spend 15 years in jail as the judge ordered that the sentence should run concurrently. Justice Idris sentence him to 10 years on each count 1 to 11 and 15 years on count 12 and 13 imprisonment.
EFCC preferred a 13 count-charge, bordering on conspiracy, forgery, and exporting the said forged cheques outside Nigeria.
Prosecuting counsel, Sesan Ola called 4 witnesses during trial. The EFCC had in an amended charge marked FHC/L/288c/06, alleged that the defendant alongside one Tony Adeyemi and one Eddy, who were at now large, had on or about May 31, 2006, at 15, McCarthy Street, Onikan, Lagos, fraudulently forged and signed 10 Lloyd’s TBS Cheques with numbers 002108; 002104; 000096; 00091; 005263; 005260; 000147; 000144; 000546; and 000550.
He was also alleged to have attempted to export the said Cheques to foreign country through the offices of United Parcel Services (UPS), situated at Somolu and Gbagada.
The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to sections 3(2)a 6(2)(b) and 6(1) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Cap. 410, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, as amended by Act. 62 of 1999, and punishable under Sections 3 and 3(b) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act No. 22 of 1984 Cap. 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge, when first arraigned before the court in 2007, and was admitted to bail.
In the course of trial, Justice Idris, revoked his bail after the accused had severally refused to attend trial. The court had noted that in further delaying the case, the accused had changed counsels, who at different occasions sought for adjournments to enable them prepare their defence.
The actions, which Justice Idris declared as ‘ploy to continue delay and frustrate the case, which he inherited from two judges of the court’.
One of the Count :
“That you Jones Patrick Biyere (AliasJimmy Johnson), Tony Adeyemi (at large) and Eddy (at large) on or about 31st May, 2006 at No. 15 Macarthy Street, Onikan, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court fraudulently and knowingly forged Lioyds TSB Cheque No. 002108 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(2) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. 410 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.”
Another Count :
That you Jones Patrick Biyere (AliasJimmy Johnson), Tony Adeyemi (at large) and Eddy (at large) on or about 31st May, 2006 at No. 15 Macarthy Street, Onikan, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court fraudulently and knowingly forged Lioyds TSB Cheque No. 002104 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(2) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. 410 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.”

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