Alleged N200m Bribe: Arraignment of judge stalled

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A bid by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to arraign Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, a former Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court, Owerri, before Hon. Justice Eze Njemanze of Imo State High Court suffered a set-back due to the accused person’s absence in court.

Justice Tsamiya was investigated by the ICPC over allegations of demanding for the sum of N200 million bribe from one Nnamdi Iro Orji, a politician, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 10(a)(i) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The alleged gratification was meant to influence the outcome of a matter before the Election Petition Appeals Panel No. 2 sitting in Owerri, Imo State, in favour of Mr. Orji, who was the appellant in appeal No. CA/OW/EPT/HR/61/2015.

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Although the accused person was absent in court, both his counsel, David Adegbede, and the prosecuting counsel, George Lawal of ICPC, were present.

Counsel to Tsamiya informed the court that his client travelled abroad for medical treatment, but counsel to ICPC frowned at the submission, arguing that the accused had been properly served the notice of arraignment, and therefore had no valid reason for not being in court, more so when there was no medical report to back the claim.

Justice Njemanze, after hearing the arguments from both counsel, expressed his displeasure with the action of the defendant, noting that he seemed to be taking the court for granted, and therefore warned the defendant to ensure that he appeared in court on the next adjourned date of 5th July, 2019 for his arraignment.