N10m gift: EFCC files fresh charge against ex -CJ

N10m gift: EFCC  files fresh charge  against ex -CJ
A fresh corruption charge now awaits the immediate past  Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Azubike Umezulike in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is accusing him of receiving N10million donation from a litigant before his court.
The anti-graft agency claims that Umezulike conferred undue advantage on himself.
The commission had on March 16 arraigned the former CJ before a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt over non-disclosure of assets.
While the process was on, a key witness against Umezulike was arrested in Abuja and hauled before a court in Enugu for alleged forgery of a document.
The intervention of the Attorney-General of Enugu State however saved the witness, Chibuike Jonathan Nnamoko from being sent to jail.
The Enugu AG faulted the police for arraigning the witness for forgery in his jurisdiction without his knowledge or any case file.
The fresh  charge filed against Umezulike by Kayode Oni, A.I. Arogha and Esin-Oti Ebipade, shows that: “The court is informed by the Executive Chairman, EFCC, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that Innocent Azubike Umezulike is charged with the following offence:
“Use of office to confer corrupt or unfair advantage contrary to Section 19 of the Independent and Corrupt Practices and other Related Offence Act( Laws of the Federation) 2000.
“Innocent Azubike Umezulike sometime February 2014 at Enugu within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court whilst being the Chief Judge, High Court of Justice, Enugu (a public officer) did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon yourself by inviting one Prince Arthur Eze, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oranto Petroleum Limited, who was a litigant in pending and concluded civil matters to wit: suit No. E/388/2010: Prince Arthur Eze v Diamond Bank Plc and E/147/2012: Prince Arthur Eze v Major Concepts Limited respectively presided over by you to the launch of a book titled “ABC of contemporary land law in Nigeria”, authored by you, where the said Arthur Eze donated N10million only by a Fidelity Bank  Plc cheque drawn in the account of Oranto Petroleum Limited which you accepted and paid the said sum of N10million only into your Zenith Bank  Plc account number 1001189952 and thereby committed an offence.”
A  Federal High Court in Enugu had placed an interim forfeiture order of a sum of N50 million belonging to Justice Umezulike in a Zenith Bank account.
Prior to his trial, the National Judicial Council (NJC) under the chairmanship of the immediate past  Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, had recommended him and Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal for compulsory retirement.
The NJC also dismissed Justice Kabiru Auta with a directive that he should be handed over to the police in Kano for prosecution.
An EFCC source, speaking on the arrest of witness Nnamoko said: “we got an intelligence report that he was arrested by some policemen for forgery and arraigned before a court in Enugu without the knowledge of the Attorney-General of the state.
“The AG has however intervened by insisting on due process. He said the police should send its investigation report to his office and after considering all evidence, the state will advise as appropriate.
“They were almost sending the witness to prison in order to intimidate him and withdraw from giving evidence. We are investigating those behind this.” - The Nation

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