BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI
The Ebonyi State Police Command has arraigned a public servant, Simon Nwele, before a Magistrate’s Court sitting in Abakaliki for allegedly swindling a job seeker of the sum of N4, 400,000.
Nwele was said to have received the said sum from one Nkechi Ewogu in August 2020 under false pretence and with intent to defraud her. He allegedly promised Ewogu that he would secure a job for her at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki but failed to meet the commitment.
Nwele was docked on four-count-charge of conspiracy, advance fee fraud, cultism and threat to life.
The charge brought against him read that “You, Nwele Simon and others now at large, in the month of August 2020 at Abakaliki Magisterial district did by false pretense and with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N4, 400,000 (four million, four hundred thousand naira) from one Nkechi Ewogu with pretence of providing Federal Government employment at Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki for her, a presentation you knew to be false.
“You did belong to a secret cult known as Supreme Vikings Confraternity. You did threaten the life of Nkechi Ewogu and thereby caused her extreme fear and others in the environs.”
Police prosecutor, Inspector Mathias Ezeh, said that the defendant committed offences contrary to and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences act 2006, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The defendant also allegedly committed offences contrary to Section 3(1)(3) and (1) punishable under Section 5 of Ebonyi State Law prohibiting secret cult activities and carrying of offensive weapons in Ebonyi State, Cap 12, Volume 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
However, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The defence counsel, Chukwu Elias, in pursuant to Section 88, Sub-section 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, applied for bail for the defendant, but it was opposed by the police prosecutor on the ground that the third count charge of cultism is beyond the jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s court.
Ezeh also said that the defendant had earlier jumped police administrative bail.
He insisted that the defendant be remanded in custody pending the advice of the Directorate of Public Prosecution in the state.
The trial Magistrate, Blessing Ibeabuchi-Chukwu, questioned the allegation of cultism that was brought against the defendant and admonished the police to be truthful in the discharge of their duties in a bid to avoid misleading the court.
Ibeabuchi-Chukwu expressed curiosity on how the charge of cultism came into play in a matter that has to do with securing a job.
He, therefore, overruled the prosecutor’s objections and granted the defendant bail in the sum of N1 million and presentation of a reliable adult as surety. He added that the surety, whose addresses must be verified, must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter was adjourned till June 8 for mention.