Ex-CJ to EFCC: Ekweremadu, Ezeh after me

Detectives yesterday grilled a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Azubuike Umezulike, over the N632.2million allegedly traced to his account.

But the ex-CJ, in a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), insisted that he was “spotless” and incorruptible.

He alleged that Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Peter Ezeh were behind his ordeal.

The EFCC however said there was no petition from Ekweremadu before it against the ex-CJ.

Umezulike appeared  before  a team of interrogators after the EFCC rejected his January 12 application to travel abroad for eye treatment and a wobbly leg. It was learnt that the ex-CJ  arrived at the EFCC’s zonal office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, at about 10am after which his interrogation began.

A top source said: “After exchange of letters which made the EFCC to insist on his appearance, the former Enugu CJ  has finally honoured our invitation.

“So far, he is responding to the petitions against him.”

On the ex-CJ’s request to go abroad for treatment, the source said: “We have told him that if he honours our invitation (which he has done now), we will agree on when he will travel out and for how long in order not to jeopardise our investigation.

“The letter Justice Umezulike wrote to us is silent on the date of the trip, the exact duration and the date of return. That was why we did not accede to his request.”

Justice Umezulike, in a January 12 letter to the EFCC, said Ekweremadu plotted his travails.

The ex-CJ made his position known in a January 12 letter to EFCC.The letter reads: “Your honour, while in office as the CJ of Enugu State, I faced petitions of Peter Eze and Sen. Ike Ekweremadu before the Inspector-General of Police, ICPC, the National Judicial Council( NJC) and the Department of State Security Service( DSS).

“My trouble with Ekweremadu started in 2014 when I declared  his three-man delegates list as null and void and cannot be used for PDP primaries in Enugu State.

“For Mr. Peter Eze, I ordered Enugu State Police Command to arrest and investigate him. These forces have circulated series of petitions against me.”

The ex-CJ insisted that he was “spotless” and incorruptible.

He asked the EFCC to permit him to travel for medical treatment before facing investigation.

He added: “As a patriotic and honest Nigerian, I am under a necessity to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies in their investigation activities. But I will urge you to defer my interrogation to enable me proceed to the UK to have surgery on my eyes and to treat my leg.

“Your honour must note that time does not run against a state matter on crime.  Consequently, when I return in a month or two, your interrogation will commence. And you may perhaps realize that I am spotless.”

The EFCC said it was not being tele-guided by either Ekweremadu or any politician.

The EFCC’s letter to the ex-CJ reads: “Your letter dated 12th January 2017 refers. We must put the records straight.

“Although most of our investigations are in response to petitions filed before us, yet in conducting the investigations, we neither do the bidding of anybody (no matter how highly-placed) nor concerned with any political disagreement between the parties involved.

“This same principle applies to your case. And again, Sen. Ekweremadu is not a complainant in  this case before us.”

The NJC on September 29, last year recommended Justice Umezulike for compulsory retirement alongside Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was the Presiding Justice of the Ilorin Division of the Court of Appeal.

The NJC said it recommended Umezulike to Governor Lawrence Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for compulsory for “delivering judgment in a case 126 days after final addresses were adopted by parties, and for other instances of abuse of office”.

The embattled judge has since been retired by the government.

The council also found Justice Umezulike guilty of allegedly “receiving a donation of N10m from a businessman, Prince Arthur Eze, during his book launch while two cases in which Eze was said to have had “vested interest, were in the judge’s court.”

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