Court adjourns ex-presidential candidate’s corruption case

Osita Okereke

The trial of a former presidential aspirant, Emmanuel Okereke, and, Ishmeal Chinyere, slated to commence on Monday, March 16, 2015 before Justice Abubakar Talba of an FCT High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja could not proceed as planned as the prosecution’s witness was reportedly unfit to be in court.
Messrs. Okereke and Chinyere are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for impersonation, forgery and criminal conspiracy to the tune of N1.15million.

Specifically, the accused persons allegedly forged a federal government document titled, Restricted, Federal Government of Nigeria, National Task Force, and falsely held public offices as Director-General and Director, FCT Command of National Task Force through which they fraudulently obtained money from sale of employment forms.

The duo, first arraigned before Justice J.Y Tukur on November 21, 2013, had their matter transferred to Justice Talba following the elevation of the former judge. Hence, the case started de novo on October 3, 2014 with the accused taking fresh pleas.

Consequently, the matter was slated for trial on Monday.

At the resumed sitting, counsel to EFCC, Aso Peter, prayed the court for a short adjournment saying, “My Lord, we wish to apply for adjournment to enable us produce our witness who is indisposed at the moment.”

The counsel representing the accused persons, Kanayo Okafor, however expressed their readiness to go on with the matter.

Justice Talba, in granting the application, adjourned the case to May 4 and 5, 2015 for definite trial.

One of the counts read: “That you Osita Okereke and Ishmeal Chinyere Nwogu sometime in March, 2010 in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory knowingly had in your possession a forged document titled ‘Restricted, Federal Republic of Nigeria, National Task Force’ with intent to fraudulently use same as a genuine to induce the public to believe that your organisation is an agency of the Federal Government and consequently remitted the aggregate sum of N1,145,000(one million one hundred and forty five thousand naira) to you through First Bank account no. 3066173170, and thereby committed an offence and punishable under Section 368 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja).”

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