N800m Oil Drilling Pipes: Rivers Govt takeovers case against ex-Anambra guber aspirant
Rivers State Government through the Office of the Attorney General of the State has taken over the prosecution of a former governorship aspirant in Anambra State, Walter Ubaka Okeke, over alleged stealing of oil drilling pipes and several heavy duty equipment worth over N800 million in the state, ANAMBRA PEOPLE reports.
The former governorship aspirant who was recently granted bail to the tune of N100 million after spending about a month in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre, was being tried
in suit number PMC/884c/2022, before Chief Magistrate A. O. Amadi-Nna.
Okeke lives at a premises in Trans-Amadi axis of Port Harcourt where the complainant in the case, Mr Ifeanyi Amaonye, allegedly stocked the oil drilling pipes and other heavy industrial equipments.
Part of the suit as filed by the Commissioner of Police on May 27, 2022, stated that: “You, Walter Ubaka Okeke, and others now at large, did conspire to commit felony to wit: stealing; and therefore committed an offence punishable under Section 516A of the Criminal Code Law Cap 37 Vol 2, Laws of Rivers State”.
The second count further mentioned the value of the alleged stolen property to be over N800m, items said to be property of a Port Harcourt business man, Mr Ifeanyi Amaonye, kept in the open at the accused’s compound in Trans-Amadi.
Meanwhile, the case which has been taken over by the office of the Attorney-General of the State has been moved to the High Court. The state also initiated ‘discontinue proceeding’ before Chief Magistrate, A.O. Amadi Nna so that Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of High Court 24 would commence hearing on the matter.
When the matter was mentioned in the High Court on Friday, May 12, 2023, Justice Nwogu ordered for the arrest of the embattled Walter Ubaka Okeke, for allegedly refusing to appear in court after the counsel for the state, Chidi Eke had demanded for his bench warrant.
In his ruling on the bench warrant, Nwogu said the defendants were served, and that their objection was filed the previous day (May 11, 2023 against mention of May 12, 2023). He stated that it was confirmed that the defendant refused to come to court on Friday.
Justice Nwogu said the court was yet to receive the notice of objection to the case the defendant said he filed. “The court must be vigilant, and must hear every objection before it. We are aware of the Rivers State Court processes law which says all objections will come on address stage.
The interest of justice cannot be used to please a party in court. It is mandatory that the objection would be taken at address stage. I cannot fix hearing on the objection. That rule is binding on me. Again, this case is not charged under federal law but under Rivers State law. Objection is thus in error.”
He declared that the defendant refused to come to court. “It is disrespectful. He has refused to appear. I therefore make the following orders: Order of Bench Warrant; Order to arrest him detain him in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre; Order to empower the Police to execute this order and bring him to court on next adjourned day.”
The presiding judge however, adjourned the case till May 26, 2023, for plea.