Raphael Ede, Enugu
The Enugu State Police Command, on Monday, arraigned the traditional ruler-elect of the Ogugu community in the Awgu Local Government Area of the state, Chief Emmanuel Ogbonna, before the Enugu South Magistrates’ Court for perjury.
The police accused Ogbonna of claiming on oath to be an engineer when he had no qualifying certificate to back the claim.
The two counts read, “That you, Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna, sometime in 2011 at the Enugu State High Court, Awgu Division, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did make an oath in suit No. HAW/01/2011 between Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna and Jonas Uchenwa and six others, that you are an engineer when you knew you never obtained any professional qualifying certificate, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 145 and punishable under Section 146 of the Criminal Code, Cap 30, Vol. II, Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria, 2004.
“That you, Chief Emmanuel Muodebel Ogbonna, within same time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did with intent to defraud falsely represent yourself as a professional engineer when you knew you were not, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 460 of the Criminal Code, Cap 30, Vol. II, Revised Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria, 2004.”
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His counsel, Nwabueze Ugwu, applied for his bail on very liberal terms, saying, “The accused is an octogenarian and Igwe-elect of his community. It is that status that is in contention; the accused is a community leader; he is always in his palace in the village and can never absent himself from court. We make an application that he be granted bail on self recognition.”
The police prosecutor, ASP Austin Aguodoh, said he would not oppose the bail application provided that the defendant would provide reasonable surety that must have verifiable address.
Ruling on the bail application, Chief Magistrate Nwebiem admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N300,000 and adjourned the matter till September 14 for definite hearing.