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The counsel to a detained whistleblower in Anambra State, who had accused two senior police officers of organ harvesting, is trading words with a deputy court registrar at the Federal High Court, Awka, over allegation of ₦1 million bribe.
The whistleblower who’s name was given as Daniel Emeh, is a member of the National Youth Service Corp, NYSC, with the Nigeria Police, was arrested in connection with allegations of a case under investigation by the Force Headquarters.
The Eastern Updates reports that the case is about police officers allegedly involved in human organ trafficking, kidnapping and killing of suspects after extorting them.
Emeh, an Information Technology (IT) expert, was also alleged to be impersonating the police officers, while serving as a tracker in the Anambra State Police Command.
His lawyer, Justus Ijeoma, who had petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court over the continued detention of his client despite court bail, accused the Deputy Chief Registrar, DCR, Federal High Court, Awka, Nkem Mba, of unprofessional conduct in processing his client’s bail.
In the petition copied to the Administrative Judge, Federal High Court, Awka Division and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Ijeoma alleged that DCR Mba was deliberately refusing to process the bail of his client because his client refused to pay N1 million she demanded.
However, in a swift reaction, Mba denied the allegation, saying she does not have to collect bribe to perform her official duties.
According to the DCR, it was actually the father of the boy (Emeh), who offered her bribe in the presence of her staff, adding that she rejected the bribe.
‘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.
Mba said that why Emeh had not been released was because he had not met his bail conditions, stressing that any day he meets his bail conditions, she would forward his name to the judge accordingly for action.
She also threatened to report the lawyer’s allegation to the police.
But tracing the genesis of the matter in his protest letter, Ijeoma insisted that his client had met all the bail conditions as demanded the by the court.
In the petition, Ijeoma said: “My Lord, we promptly set machinery in motion for the perfection of the bail whereupon we fulfilled all the bail conditions except the one which required that the defendant’s passport be deposited with Deputy Chief Registrar 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.
“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 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 and 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 one’s whims and caprices.’
It would be recalled that Emeh was arraigned on a 12-count charge bothering on, among other things, ‘making false publications against the OC Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and stealing’.
Consequently, the defendant was admitted to bail by the court on 17th May, 2023 in the sum of N50 million and two sureties in like sum, who must be residing with the jurisdiction of this court.
The sureties must be reasonable Nigerians with landed property, either commercial or residential and who must 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.
The defendant is also to submit his passport to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.