By Anayo Okoli, Ikenna Asomba & Chinedu Adonu
UMUAHIA—THE Uche Ogah Campaign Organisation has berated Abia state government for publicly celebrating the temporary arrest of Dr. Uche Ogah by the EFCC over a business deal in his company, Masters Energy Oil and Gas.
According to the organization, the celebration was immaterial as the arrest had nothing to do with the political power struggle between Ogah and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
The state had in a news report credited to Comrade Bonnie Iwuoha, the state commissioner for information and strategy, congratulated the EFCC for arresting Ogah.
Reacting to the development, the spokesman of Ogah Campaign Organization, Chief Joshua Ogbonna berated the state government for rejoicing over the arrest of Ogah who has since been released and described the commissioner’s statement as “ frivolous and totally misplaced.”
According to him, the premature celebration of the state government was at variance with the long held Igbo ethos of being our brother’s keeper and lamented that “instead of being our brother’s keeper, those who are temporarily holding power are busy hounding and hunting down Abians.”
Ogbonna said that it was disappointing that instead of encouraging the likes of Ogah to come and invest in the state, “they are busy mocking themselves” and celebrating an imaginary misfortune of a prominent Abia son.
According to him, the government of Abia State was in no way connected with the matter for which Ogah was arrested by the EFCC, hence they have no reason to celebrate.
“Abia government has nothing to do with the case but they connived with the woman to petition the EFCC against Ogah and when the truth came to light, the EFCC had no reason to keep him in detention and promptly asked him to go,” the organization said.
The Ogah Campaign Organisation advised the state government “to wait for genuine celebration as Abians are interested in the outcome of the matter between Ogah and Ikpeazu at the Supreme Court”.
According to them, the government should concentrate on how to “clear the unpaid salaries of its workers who are now dying of hunger while a lot of businesses are closing down due to low patronage.”
I was never arrested by EFCC— Uche Ogah
But in his reaction, Mr Uche Ogah denied the reports making the rounds that he has been arrested and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over an oil deal with one Bridget Adeosun that went awry.
Addressing journalists, yesterday, Ogah described the report as “false, wicked and fabricated.”
He said: “I was neither arrested, detained, nor under any investigation for any criminal charge whatsoever. The EFCC has a process of inviting anyone under investigation, either in writing or by inviting you through other means. That has not been done, as you can see me physically here.”
Recounting the genesis of the misunderstanding with Adeosun, Ogah said the woman met him sometime in 2011 through one member of his staff for financial assistance in the procurement of import license for Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.
According to him, he insisted on going through legal and other due processes in the alliance with her.
“The transaction was properly executed. I spent N1.8 billion and made a loss of N10 billion. This transaction took place in 2011. She never argued or refuted anything from that day until when they paid us interest on foreign exchange differentials. She rushed to the DMO to claim the N51 million interest. We stopped her at the DMO with an injunction,” he explained.
Ogah further added that despite the fact that the woman has dragged him to five police stations and the EFCC since then, he had always floored her; a situation he believes is responsible for her frustration.
He revealed that the former Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase hurriedly took the case to court on the eve of his retirement, adding that he wrote to the new IGP Ibrahim Idris, two weeks ago demanding that the case be re-investigated, vowing that he will never succumb to Adeosun’s blackmail.
He also said that he was aware that his political detractors were using Mrs. Adeosun.
Ogah said his efforts so far, even through Adeosun’s church to make her see reasons has not yielded fruits, vowing that he will continue to play along with his good conscience on the matter.
EFCC arraigns Ikechukwu Henry Onyia for alleged N4.5 million fraud
In another development, the anti-graft agency yesterday arraigned an Enugu-based businessman, Henry Ikechukwu Onyia before an Enugu High Court for obtaining about N4.5 million from customers under false pretences.
Onyia was arraigned before Justice. C.O. Ajah on a four- count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheques to the tune of N4. 5 million contrary to section 1(2) (b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and punishable under section 1(1)(b)(i) of the same Act.
It was alleged that Onyia, “a former staff of EMEL Group of Companies, Lagos and a self-styled importer of baby diapers in January 2015, approached the petitioner for a loan of N3 million to increase importation of his stocks with an agreement to pay an interest of N1. 5 million in return for the capital sum.”
Sources close to the EFCC, however, stated that, “the transaction was fraudulently entered into by the accused solely to use the loan obtained, to offset debts incurred from his former office which led to his dismissal.”
It was further discovered that his company Alteal Enterprises was non-functional and without any presence in the registered address.
However, having failed to pay back the capital and interest sum on the loan, the accused person reportedly went ahead at various times, to issue six post- dated cheques to the complainant which when presented, were returned unpaid due to insufficient fund in the account.
When docked, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, necessitating the Prosecution Counsel, Muhammad Shehu to apply for a trial date.
Onyia’s counsel, C. B. Onovo on the other hand informed the court of a motion for bail dated October 10, 2016, for the bail of his client.
Justice Ajah later granted the accused bail in the sum of N500, 000 and one surety in like sum. Ajah ruled that the surety must not only be a resident of Enugu State but must deposit two passport photographs and addresses to be verified by the EFCC. The case was adjourned to November 7, 2016 for trial.