The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday March 16, 2017 arraigned the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Professor Innocent Azubike Umezulike, on a four-count charge of non-disclosure of assets and false declaration of assets before Justice J. K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Count one reads: "That you, Innocent Azubike Umezulike, on or about the 16th day of February 2017 at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly failed to make disclosure of your asset to wit: Plot 312 Independence Layout Enugu and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 27(3)(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act , 2004 and punishable under Section 27(3)(c) of the same Act.

"That you, Innocent Azubike Umezulike, on or about the 30th day of January 2017 at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly made false declaration of your asset to wit: Plot 312 Independence Layout Enugu and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 27 (3) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act. 2004 and punishable under Section 27(3)(c) of the same Act."

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were read to him.

Counsel to the defendant, Professor Uche-Jack Osimiri, told the court that he has filed an application for bail for his client. The prosecution counsel did not oppose the application but prayed the court to order for an accelerated hearing.

Justice Omotosho granted bail to the defendant on self-recognition, the sum of N2 million and ordered him to deposit his international passport with the court.

The case was adjourned to April 24 for continuation of trial.  

However, before the matter was adjourned, Justice Omotosho ordered the prosecution counsel to produce his witness. Usman Adoke, an operative of the EFCC, was then called to the witness box and examined by the prosecution counsel, Kayode Oni. Adoke told the court that sometimes in April 2016, the Commission received a petition where it was alleged that the defendant while serving as Chief Judge of Enugu State corruptly enriched himself and abused his office among other allegations.  He said when the defendant was invited to the Commission to make a statement, he failed to disclose that Plot 312 Independence Layout Enugu and Plot 767 Independence Layout Enugu belongs to him.

 

Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Azubike Umezulike

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