August 4, 2020.RAZORNEWS
The contention over the Iyase title of the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State has taken another legal dimension with the arraignment of a business tycoon, Collins Afuwa before the state High Court sitting in Asaba.
In suit number A/206c/2019 between the Inspector General of Police and Chief Collins Uche Afuwa, the defendant was arraigned on a five-count charge of impersonation, disobedience to law, disobedience to a lawful order issued by the constituted authority, provoking a breach of peace by offensive publication and forgery.
When the charges were read in court, the defendant pleaded not guilty.
The presiding judge, Justice M. Omovie granted him bail with conditions which included two sureties of a public officer not below salary grade level 12 and N1 million in like sum.
Justice Omovie granted the bail following an oral application by the lead counsel to the defendant, E. Okwubulere, SAN, which was initially opposed by the claimant’s legal team but overruled by the court on the ground that offences were bailable.
The court subsequently adjourned the case to October 20, 2020.
In count one of the charge sheet, the defendant has arraigned for impersonation punishable under section 484 of the Criminal Code Act Cap 38 Laws of the Federation 2004 as applicable in Delta State.
According to the particulars of offence, Afuwa had between July 2010 and September 2019 at Ogwashi-Uku and Asaba within the jurisdiction of the court presented himself as the Iyase of Ogwashi-Uku to be a person lawfully installed, crowned and assumed and performed the duties of Ogwashi-Uku within Ogwashi-Uku and Asaba.
In count two, the defendant was alleged to have paraded himself as the Iyase of Ogwashi-Uku, exercising and discharging the powers and duties of Iyase of Ogwashi-Uku within Ogwashi-Uku and Asaba.
The watching brief counsel for the nominal complaint (Chief Mike Nwukoni), Francis Okolie told journalists that by the order of the court dated 25th June 2020 the defendant was served through substituted means.
The lead counsel to the defendant, E Okwubulere, SAN, said his client’s offence was bailable, and ought to have been brought before a Magistrate Court and not High Court.
He said his client pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge because he believed he was innocent, stressing that the onus was on the complainant to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.