An Onitsha Magistrate Court wednesday granted bail to 47 persons accused of allegedly collecting illegal tolls in Onitsha in Anambra for the sum of N1,000 each. The Magistrate, Mr. Uchenna Amaechi, who gave the ruling in Onitsha, also asked the accused persons to provide known sureties with tax evidence as part of the bail condition. The accused persons, who pleaded not guilty, are facing two-count charges of breach of peace and illegal collection of tolls. Earlier, the prosecutor, Uwakwe Okonji, told the court that the accused persons committed the offence between August 22 and August 30 along the Onitsha-Asaba expressway, Onitsha. Okonji said the offences contravened Sections 496 (a) and 247 (d) of the Criminal Code Cap 36 Vol II, revised law of the state, 1991 as amended.
The prosecutor did not oppose the bail application by counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Okey Odimgbe, who argued that his clients were accredited government revenue agents. The magistrate adjourned the case till October 26 for hearing, warning the accused persons to return to court on next adjourned date. It could be recalled that an Anambra Government agency, Ocha Brigade on Aug. 30 arrested over 70 persons for allegedly harassing, extorting and collecting revenue illegally following complaints by motorists.