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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Angus Okoye’s murder: RULAAC petitions Anambra AG over missing files, DPP fingered - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has petitioned the Anambra State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, over the tampering of evidences in the case of murder of late Angus Okoye in Isuaniocha, Awka-North Local Government Area of the state, reports 
ITREALMS.

RULAAC in a petition entitled “Re: The case of the Murder of Angus Okoye in Isuaniocha Community, Awka North LGA, Anambra State (Case No. A/25c/2020) and the taking over of prosecution of the suspected murderers by the Anambra State Ministry of Justice” a copy of which was obtained by 
ITREALMS.

The NGO said it wrote on behalf of the family of the deceased late Angus Okoye and commended the Attorney general for promptly responding to the family's request contained in a petition addressed to the office through counsel, dated 27/5\2020 by taking over the prosecution of the case from the Police.

According to the Executive Director, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, alleged that they were however, prompted to write to the Attorney General by the apparent foot-dragging by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and with particular reference to the incident that happened in court last Monday July 13, 2020 when the case came up in Court 2, which RULAC described as of serious concern, “not only to the family, but also to Civil Society representatives and the media who were in court on that day to observe the proceedings.”

As said by RULAAC, “On the day the police first arraigned the suspects on 18/6/20 the DPP informed the court that they will take over the case, file formal charges and properly arraign the suspects at the next adjourned date.

“However on the next adjourned date being Monday, July 13, when the case was called up, there was no representative of the DPP in court and the charges had not been filed by the DPP, leading to the defence moving a motion for bail. The case was stood down for a while by the Judge at the instance of the lawyer to the family who was in court to enable him ascertain why the representation from the office of the DPP was not in court as expected. On resumption of proceedings, and with the DPP representative still absent, the judge reserved ruling on the bail application moved by counsel to the murder suspects to the next adjourned date which is Monday, July 20, 2020

“The family finds this development curious and an ominous signal capable of causing a set back to the strenuous efforts they have put up to push the case to where we it is today in the face of unrelenting efforts by the affluent prime suspect to kill the case.

“It was based on this development that the family petitioned our organization requesting us to bring the troubling development to your attention for your necessary urgent action.

“The family members of the deceased say they 'suspect high level conspiracy by counsel representing the DPP that up till now he has not filed anything in court regarding the case while he continues to deceive us'. They fear that if the DPP does not file proper charges and arraign the suspects properly before Monday, the Judge may be left with no other option at the next date than to grant the bail application of the suspect. The apparent foot dragging and/or laxity of the DPP should not be allowed to sabotage the family's effort to get justice.

“We are fully confident that you will ensure that the DPP does a timely, thorough, diligent and honest job that will ensure that justice is served.

“Some shocking discoveries about how the affluent prime murder suspect Anthony Onyeagolu bribed the Police to tamper with case file in this case are already contained in an earlier petition addressed to your office dated 27/4/2020 and acknowledged on the same date.”

ALSO READ: Re: 'Obiano urged to wade into Isuaniocha crisis; detention of community PG' Setting records straight - ITREALMS

Background:

Anthony Onyeagolu, while he was President General of Isuaniocha community between April 2017 and December 2018 when he was deposed by the governor of Anambra State, put together a deadly hit squad with which he terrorised his community members who called him to account for community funds and resisted his attempt to foist his whims and caprices on the community.

His hit squad targeted several members of the community who were considered as opponents. The hit squad launched a deadly attack on Chidiebele Okoye on 18/11/18 and left him for dead. Although Chidiebele survived the vicious attack, he has remained paralysed and bedridden till date. This action exacerbated the crisis in the community that culminated in his deposition by the Governor.

Then, in his unrelenting vengeance against those opposed to his maladministration, he called a meeting at Mile End Hotel, Awka on 13/12/18 where he and members of his hit squad discussed and perfected plans to abduct and murder Angus Okoye and other opponents. The owner of the hotel where they held the meeting, Mr.Boniface Enweani, who is now at large, is also Anthony Onyeagolu's co-accused. They carried out their plot and abducted Angus Okoye in the midnight of 15/12/18 - two days after the meeting, and took him to the Onyeagolu family compound where they tortured and murdered him and dumped his dead body at the boundary between Nawgu and Otoko village, Isuaniocha, in a pool of his own blood, with bullet injuries.

Police officers from Dunukofia Police Station recovered the dead body with some exhibits including the passport photo of Moses Emebo, one of the murderers, also a member of Anthony Onyeagolu's hit squad currently on trial and remanded with him.

Anthony Onyeagolu and his co-murderers - together with his mother, who witnessed the attack on Angus- ran to Onitsha immediately after the murder and took refuge at the house of his immediate elder brother Paulinus Onyeagolu.

Following a petition by the family members of the murdered Angus Okoye a police manhunt commenced to arrest Anthony Onyeagolu and his accomplices

Meanwhile, investigation into a previous petition against Anthony Onyeagolu and others for the attempted murder of Chidiebele Okoye had been stalled with the help of the former Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, GB Umar who is a personal friend to Anthony Onyeagolu.

Anthony Onyeagolu was eventually arrested in Awka by operatives of the Homicide Section, FCID, Force Headquarters, Abuja after a visit to the Secretary to the Anambra State Government and taken to Abuja. While in custody at the homicide section, FCID Abuja, he made desperate efforts to compromise, derail and scuttle investigation through massive bribery. Efforts were made to free him in Abuja through the CP Homicide and later, through the CP Legal. But the vigilance and determination of the petitioners- aided by men of conscience within and outside the police countered the repeated underhand plots to free the culprits. Investigation was long drawn and tortuous but was eventually concluded and the suspects were transferred back to the SCID Awka for arraignment.

While still in custody at the SCID awaiting formal charge and arraignment, Anthony Onyeagolu and the CP Legal Sanomi, made an attempt to get the CP Anambra State Command to release him but they failed to secure his cooperation because the case file indicated that the suspects were to be arraigned in court for murder and attempted murder.

Then, in their unrelenting desperation, at the midnight of 20/4/20, Anthony Onyeagolu and his co-accused Moses Emebo were surreptitiously brought out and released from the cell by the O/C Legal, SCID Anambra acting on the orders of the O/C Legal Force Headquarters, Sanomi without the knowledge of the CP Anambra and the DIG FCID who is the supervising DIG. When the petitioners got wind of this strange, illegal release from custody of murder suspects awaiting arraignment, and informed the DIG, he was livid and ordered the corrupt CP Legal to ensure that Onyeagolu and Emebo were re-arrested and returned to the cell within 48 hours.



Anthony Onyeagolu and Moses Emebo were re-arrested, as ordered and eventually arraigned at the High Court 2, Awka on 8/6/20 for murder.

It is pertinent to mention that the CP Homicide had also facilitated the release of Cyprian Onyeagolu, Anthony's elder brother and bone of the suspects in custody in Abuja on the grounds of health and on the understanding that he would be produced for arraignment in due time. But he has remained at large till date.

The Ministry of justice, Anambra State, in response to a petition by the complainants dated 27/5/20 requesting it to take over the cases of murder and attempted murder for prosecution, appeared in court and took over the case files for the DPP to study them and properly charge and arraign the accused. This request was based on findings that the CP Legal had tampered with the case file.

Shocking findings:

A study of the casefile shows that two vital witness statements were removed from the file while one false witness statement was smuggled in to provide grounds for false alibi.

The exhibits recovered by Dunukofia Police Station when they recovered the body of Angus Okoye were also not mentioned in the report.

Whereas, during investigation at the FCID Abuja, statements were obtained from witnesses which did not include Paulinus Onyeagolu, it was surprisingly discovered that a statement purported to have been made to the Police investigators by the said Paulinus Onyeagolu, was smuggled into the case file. His false statement was dated 25/3/20.

Meanwhile, the statements of two vital witnesses who reported and made statements to the Police investigators in Abuja were found to be missing.

Anthony Onyeagolu and his brothers are unrelenting and desperate to derail and scuttle their trial using their money influence.

But we will continue to monitor the trial and provide regular updates.

We have absolute confidence that the Anambra State Ministry of Justice- which clearly understands the intrigues, will resist any attempt to distract the prosecutors and will see to it that justice is done in this case. We would request specifically that you kindly reassign this case to an honest and diligent prosecutor who will not compromise.


Ozo Nweke Ozo/Editor

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Pic: Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State.

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