By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike was on Friday arraigned before an Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice Anthony Onovo for alleged corruption.
He was accused of using his office as Chief Judge of the state to confer corrupt or unfair advantage in violation of Section 19 of the ICPC Act (laws of the federation 2000).
He was accordingly arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving a N10 million Â donation during his book launch from a litigant with a pending civil matter before his court.
He however pleaded not guilty when the one-count charge was read to him.
The former Chief Judge was also granted bail in the sum of N1million and self-recognition as the prosecution counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu refused to oppose the bail application by the defence counsel, Prof Agu Gab Agu.
The charge read: “Hon. Justice Innocent Azubike Umezulike sometime in February, 2014 at Enugu within the jurisdiction of this court whilst being the Chief Judge, a public officer did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon yourself by inviting one Prince Arthur Eze, the Chief Executive Officer of Oranto Petroleum Ltd who was a litigant in pending and concluded civil matters to wit: suit No. E/388/2010; prince Arthur Eze vs Diamond Bank Plc and E/147/2010, Prince Arthur Eze vs Major Concepts Ltd respectively presided over by you to the launch of Â book titled “ABC of Contemporary Land Law in Nigeria” authored by you where the said Prince Arthur Eze donated ten million naira only by a Fidelity Bank Plc Cheque drawn in the account of Oranto Petroleum Ltd which you accepted and paid the sum of ten million naira only into your Zenith Bank Plc account number 1001189952 and thereby committed an offence”.
The matter was thereafter adjourned till October 26 and 27 as well as November 2 and 3, 2017 for definite hearing as the judge granted the prosecution counsel’s application for accelerated trial.
Before adjourning the matter however, the judge warned the media against sensational reportage.