~ I don’t take bribe, I will call police- DCR
Justus Uche Ijeoma, the defence counsel to a detained National Youth Service Corps member in Anambra State, Emeh Nnamdi Daniel,has petitioned the Chief Judge of Federal High Court for the continued detention of his client despite court bail.
In the petition, Ijeoma accused the Deputy Chief Registrar( DCR), Federal High Court, Awka, Anambra State, Nkem Mba, of unprofessional conducts in processing his client’s bail.
Ijeoma, in the petition copied to the Administrative Judge, Federal High Court, Awka Division, and the the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), alleged that DCR Mba was deliberately refusing to process the bail of his client because his client refused to pay her N1 million she demanded in that respect.
But in a swift reaction on the telephone, Mba denied the allegation, saying “he who asserts must prove.”
She said,” I don’t collect bribe to perform my official duties. He who asserts must prove. It was actually the father of the boy( Emeh) who offered me bribe in the presence of my staff but I rejected his bribe.
Asked how much the father of the boy offered her as bribe, Mba said she won’t disclosed that.
” I won’t disclosed that. But the bribe was offered in the presence of my staff and I rejected it. I don’t know whether it was one naira, two naira or three naira”, the DCR said.
She said why Emeh had not been released was because he had not met his bail conditions, stressing that any day he would meet his bail conditions,she would forward his name to the judge accordingly for action.
She threatened to report the lawyer’s allegation to the police following our correspondent’s inquiry.
But chronicling the genesis of the matter in his protest letter titled:
“A Petition against the Deputy Chief Registrar, Awka Division of the Federal High Court.Re: Charge No.: FHC/AWK/C/60/2023, The Inspector General of Police Vs. Emeh Nnamdi Daniel”, Ijeoma insisted that his client had met all the bail conditions as demanded the by the court.
Ijeoma’s application read in part,”We are counsel to the Defendant in the above-mentioned case, who is in custody and by whose instruction and consent we write to Your Lordship. We shall hereinafter, where the context admits, simply refer to him as the defendant.
“The Defendant, a serving Youth Corper with the Anambra State Police Command, was arraigned on a 12count charge bothering on, among other things, “making false publications against the OC Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS” and “stealing” before my lord, Hon Justice F. O. Riman on the 25th day of April, 2023.
“Consequently, the Defendant was admitted to bail by the Court on the 17th day of May, 2023 on the following terms:
1. Defendant granted bail in the sum of Fifty Million Naira and Two sureties in like sum, who must be residing with the jurisdiction of this Court.
2. Sureties must be reasonable Nigerians with landed property, either commercial or residential.
3. Sureties to depose to an affidavit of means, with evidence of tax payment for three years, while two passport photographs of of the sureties and title document of their properties should be deposited to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court.
4. Defendant to submit his International Passport to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court. He could however, apply for its release when the need arises.
5. Accelerated hearing is hereby ordered.
6. Case adjourned to 24th, 25th, 30th and 31st May, 2023 for hearing.
My lord, we promptly set machinery in motion for the perfection of the bail whereupon we fulfilled all the bail conditions except No. 4 above, which required that the Defendant’s International Passport be deposited with Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the Court.
“The reason was that the Defendant’s Passport was at that time with the Police who were unwilling to release same to us to enable us perfect the bail and we could not have submitted what we did not have.
“Consequently, following our application, the Honourable Court made an order on the 27th day of June, 2023 directing the Police to produce the Defendant’s Passport. In compliance with the order of the Honourable Court, the Police on the 6th day of July, 2023 submitted the passport to the Court.
“Upon submission of the Defendant’s Passport to the DCR by the police, we promptly followed up and did all that should be done on our part. However, despite our proactive actions to have the Defendant released from custody, the DCR has frustrated all our efforts.
Ijeoma added,”The unfavorable disposition of the DCR started when she, sometime in May 2023 when we commenced the process of perfecting the bail of the defendant, had demanded that we should pay her the sum of One million Naira (N1,000,000.00) as the bail processing fees. We refused and told her that the Defendant’s family does not have such money to pay and that such payment does not form part of the order of the court. since then, she has been acting in most unprofessional ways towards the process of perfecting the Defendant’s bail.
“Sometime in July, my lord, the sureties submitted their land title documents in pursuance to the order of court, three weeks after, no action was taken. When confronted, the DCR’s Secretary informed us that the DCR has not signed the letter with which the bailiff of the Court would embark on the verification of the title documents at the Land Registry. This prompted our Principal, Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq. to personally go to her office. It was only at that point that she directed her secretary to rewrite the letter with a current date. The circus of delay has continued without any respite in sight.
The totality of the DRC’s conduct in this matter is, to say the least, unbecoming of a public servant. It is sad that the rights and liberty of the Defendant is being so callously infringed upon by the DRC simply because we could not accede to her unlawful, nay criminal demands.
Wherefore, we pray my lord to direct that this matter be investigated with a view to curbing corruption and bringing the unscrupulous to justice. We cannot allow the DCR to continue as if attaining to any position in public service is a license to act at ones whims and caprices.
Thank you, my noble lord, in anticipation that this petition will receive your kind judicial attention in the interest of justice.”