The Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, has arraigned Innocent Umezulike, former Chief Judge of Enugu State for allegedly accepting donations from someone whose case was before him.
Umezuluike was arraigned before Justice Anthony Onovo on a one-count charge of using his office to secure corrupt and unfair advantage.
He was alleged to have received the sum of N10 million donation from Arthur Eze, a billionaire businessman, in February 2014, while Eze’s case was pending in his court.
Eze, the Chief Executive Officer of Oranto Petroleum LTD, made the donation during the launch of Umezuluike’s book, ‘ABC of Contemporary Land Law in Nigeria’.
Wahab Shittu, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that the action contravenes Section 19 of the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related (offence) Act (Laws of the Federation) 2000.
However, Umezulike pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Agu Gab-Agu, counsel to the accused person asked the court to grant his client bail on self-recognizance, while also asking the court to address him as “Honourable Justice”.
Gab-Agu noted that Umezulike was granted bail on self-recognizance in a similar case brought against him before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
The prosecuting counsel did not object to the bail request, but only pleaded with the presiding judge to grant the case accelerated hearing.
Justice Onovo granted the accused person bail in the sum of N1 million and ordered that he be addressed as Justice Umezulike during the trial.
He subsequently adjourned the case till October 26-27, and November 2-3, 2017 for definite hearing.