The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday heard how the Department of State Services (DSS) uncovered a plot to print counterfeit naira notes worth N20billion.
DSS Principal Officer in Charge of Investigation in Lagos, Peter Uche, said the agency acted on a tip off. He was testifying in trial of Mr John Elem, who was charged with attempting to print the fake notes.
Prosecuting counsel Mr E.K. Ugwu told Justice Saliu Saidu that the defendant violated the Counterfeit Currency Offences Act, 2004. Uche, the first prosecution witness, led in evidence Ugwu, said the DSS received a petition against Edem signed by Mr Francis Okowa.
He said the petition was delivered to him in his office on December 7, 2016 at about 4pm by “Mr Grant” from the law firm of Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN). He said Okowa, Tarfa’s client, alleged that Edem was plotting to print naira notes worth N20billion.
Uche said: “Based on the petition, I went to my director and immediately a team was constituted to identify and arrest him.“The following day, around 2pm, we were able to apprehend the suspect along Governor’s Drive, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi.
“The team was split into two: one to go and search his house while the other was to search his company. “I led the team that went to his house on Banana Island in the evening of the same day.
“We met someone in his house; so, we tendered a search warrant and subjected ourselves to body search by the defendant and the person in his house. “We went into the house and recovered items that we believe support the petition.
“Some of the items were 92 pieces of golden colour holograms, a textbook and handbooks on how to print currencies. We also recovered a manual numbering machine.”
He said he took two statements from Edem on December 9 and 11, 2016, adding that although the defendant denied the allegation, the items recovered from his house supported the charge.
Justice Saidu admitted in evidence the 92 pieces of golden colour holograms, which the witness said were recovered from the closet in Edem’s master bedroom.
The judge also admitted in evidence a textbook entitled: Optical document on security, the handbooks said to contain instructions on how to print currencies and the manual numbering machine.
The two statements by the defendant were also admitted as exhibits.
The trial continues Tuesday, Jan. 8