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Idumuje-Ugboko Crisis: Prime Suspect, Mbanefo Nwoko Arraigned For Forgery

The prime suspect behind the crisis currently rocking Idumuje-Ugboko community in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, Prince Mbanefo Felix Nwoko has been arraigned at the Chief Magistrate Court 2, Asaba, in a case bordering on conspiracy and forgery.

Mbanefo currently standing trial on a 10 count charge preferred against him by the Delta State Commissioner of Police, pleaded not guilty to all charges as read to him.

The count charge sheet (CMA/420C/2017) as obtained by Asaba Metro revealed that the suspect and others now at large conspired and fabricated a medical report with the Delta State Hospital Management Board letterhead, bearing a false signature of Dr. P.A. Onyema, the Medical Director of Hospital Management Board, Owa-Oyibu, Ika North-East LGA, as evidence of ill health in favour of one Nwoko Orese Nomso Justin (M) which was submitted at the Chief Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Asaba on May 31, 2017 with the intention to mislead the court and defeat the course of justice, thereby committing an offence punishable under the Section 118 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C21 Vol. 1 Laws of Delta State of Nigeria, 2006.

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In response to the charges, the accused, a legal practitioner of about 32 years standing through his Counsel, P.C. Dunkwu Esq. asked the court to grant the accused bail on his recognizance as the charge emanates from the discharge of the accused professional duties.

The application for bail which was vehemently opposed to by the Prosecuting Counsel, Richard Isiguzor Esq, argued that the accused person may jump bail. He stated the difficulty in apprehending the accused even after the Chief Magistrate Court issued a bench warrant and how the accused person went into hiding until the police tracked him to Auchi in Edo State where he was arrested. The Prosecution also contended that the accused could deploy his extensive influence to tamper and obstruct the course of justice by suppressing vital evidence that may incriminate him. Counsel cited relevant sections of the law to buttress his argument.

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In a reply, the Defence informed the court that bail is contractual and that in this case, the court should be assured that based on 32 years experience of the accused in the practice of law, he would not jump bail.

In her ruling, the trial Chief Magistrate A.N. Okonkwo Akalume harped on the interest of Justice and granted the accused person, Barr. Mbanefo Felix Nwoko bail in the sum of N200,000.00 with one surety in like sum, who should be a land owner and resident within Asaba Magisterial District.

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Chief Magistrate Akalume thereafter adjourned the case to September 12, 2017 for definite hearing.

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