The trial of an Abuja businesswoman, Mrs. Chinyere Amuchienwa Igwegbe, on alleged criminal intimidation, blackmail and threat to the life of a former governor of Imo state, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim was on Thursday stalled by two conflicting letters from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.
The criminal charges brought against the woman by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, were forced to be shifted to December 8 by a high court of the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
Although the trial was billed to commence on Thursday and the former governor slated to give evidence against the woman, it was however pushed forward by Justice Yusuf Halilu due to two conflicting letters from the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
In one of the letters, Malami was said to have indicated interest to take over the prosecution of the accused person, another one however said that the AGF did not express such desire.
In the confusion that ensued, Halilu, who claimed to have received the conflicting letters chose to reschedule the trial till December 8 for the IGP and AGF to put their houses in order.
At a resumed sitting on Thursday, Mrs. Racheal Dimka, the police lawyer informed the court that the matter was for police to open its case against the defendant and the former governor was in court to lead evidence.
However, the lawyer said she was served with a letter “purportedly written by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation to take over the case”.
The counsel further told the court that there was another letter from the office of the AGF refuting the claim that the AGF has taken over the case.
“My Lord, we urge the court to discountenance the said letters”, the lawyer pleaded.
At this juncture, the judge demanded an explanation from the office of the AGF but none of the officials was present at the court.
Justice Yusuf confirmed receiving letters, which he described as “two heavy letters, one from the AGF, saying he has taken over the case, and the order refuting the claim”.
At this point, the police lawyer insisted before the court that the authors of the letters should be investigated.
Reacting, counsel to the accused woman, Mr. Ifeanyi Nweze, told the court that a similar scenario played out at the Federal High Court in Abuja and that at the end of the day, the court held that the AGF has unfettered power to take over any case before judgement is given.
Faced with the confusing situation, the court ordered the parties to go back and resolve the issue and subsequently fixed December 8, for the prosecution to open its case against the woman.
The Police are prosecuting Mrs Amuchienwa for allegedly providing false information in a petition she wrote against Dr Ohakim.
She had in a petition to the IGP, accused Ohakim of conspiracy, criminal intimidation, defamation of character, attempted kidnapping, and threat to her life.
However, after investigation, the police claimed the allegations were unsubstantiated and false.
Although the police arrested the former governor and filed criminal charges against him, Mrs Amuchienwa was later arrested when it was found out that allegations in her petition were mere blackmail.
She was arraigned on July 22 and later granted bail.
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