The Ebonyi State Police Command on Wednesday arraigned a 52-year-old lawyer, for allegedly stealing the sum of N5 million, belonging to one Igwe Nwokpata, in the state.
The first defendant, Barr Onu Onwe, it was gathered, had been a lawyer to the complainant for over 13 years.
He was said to have sold his (the complainant’s) piece of land at the rate of N29 million but accounted for N24 million.
Trouble started when the lawyer asked the complainant (Mr Igwe Nwokpata) to sign the Power of Attorney.
Daily Trust learnt that the complainant refused to sign the document and the lawyer, realising the complainant’s unwillingness to cooperate, reportedly forged his signature on the document.
He reportedly committed the offence at Nna Street, Abakaliki, in Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state, on October 25, 2018.
on Wednesday, he was arraigned before the Magistrate’s Court on three count charges ranging on felony, stealing and conspiracy.
The Police Prosecutor, ASP Mathias Eze, told the court that the offence was punishable under sections 516A (a); 309 (9) and 467 (2)(d) of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
The charge read in part, “That you Onu John Onwe ‘m’, Nshe Monday ‘m’ and others now at large , on the 25/10/2018, at Nna Street, Abakaliki, in the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court , did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516A(a) of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you Onu John Onwe, ‘m’, Nshe Monday ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District did steal the sum of N5,000,000.00, property of Igwe Dennis Nwokpata and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap.33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2018.”
The defendants, through their Counsel and the chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (Abakaliki Branch), pleaded for leniency.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Nnenna Onuoha, granted the first accused person bail for self recognition in the sum of N200.000.00, while the second accused person was equally granted bail in the sum of N200,000.00.
But both were asked to provide two sureties each, who were resident within the jurisdiction of the court and had tax clearance from 2018, 2019 and 2020.