BY RAPHAEL ONYEKACHUKWU, ENUGU – For the third time, an Enugu High Court has adjourned to October 12, 2017 an alleged corruption case involving a Director of Litigation in Enugu State, Vincent Aneke without any arraignment.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), has charged the defendant to court over allegations of corruptly enriching himself by accepting gratifications for performing an official act.
When the case came up for mention, the defendant and his counsel were conspicuously absent, with Counsel to ICPC, Mr Dennis Okoro informing the court that the defence counsel is said to be in Awka, Anambra State for an urgent matter with his client also not present.
The presiding judge, Justice Harold Eya however, adjourned the case to October 12 for both parties to adequately prepare for the formal arraignment.
The prosecutor had earlier submitted at two different courts that Aneke purportedly received two plots of land from Umunenshi community in Enugu South Local Government of the state for a matter he handled for them in 1985.
“The defendant received two plots of land located at Agbariagba land of Umunenshi Village in Amechi Uwani, Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State from Umunenshi family.
“The reward was for the role he performed in the execution of the judgment of the court in suit No; E/170/76 between Nnaji and others Vs. Nwugwu and others delivered on 25th June, 1985,” the prosecuting counsel alleged.
According to the court documents with charge No: E/1C/2017, the ICPC charged Aneke, who is the Director of Litigation and High Court Services in Enugu State High Court, with corruption after accepting rewards for performing official act.
The charges read thus: “A public officer accepting a reward for performing an official act is contrary to section 18 (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under section 18 (d) of the same act’’.
The charge sheet further said the defendant presented false information to mislead the Commission (ICPC), which is contrary to section 25 (1) of the commission Act, 2000 and punishable under section 25 (1) (b) of the same act.
Briefing newsmen after the court session, the prosecutor expressed dismay over incessant adjournment of the case without arraignment by the court.
Barrister Okoro lamented that the case has so far suffered three adjournments without arraignment, adding that his team was unhappy with the development.
According to him, it is curious that after the initial transfer from the first court where the case was filed to Court 10, it has now been moved to Court 12 still without any formal arraignment.
Frowning at the continuous delay, he said it was regrettable that the defendant and his counsel again failed to appear in court to kick-start the case.