The trial of the Enugu State Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Victor Nnam, over allegations of forgery and fraud, was stalled Tuesday due to his absence in court.
Mr Nnam was billed to be arraigned at the Federal High Court Enugu on an eight-count charge of forgery and fraud by the office of the attorney-general of the federation.
This followed the conclusion of investigation by the police of a criminal complaint by Mr Nnam’s former employers, Private Estates International West Africa Limited.
The company had in a petition to the Inspector General of Police accused the commissioner of forging documents which he allegedly used to register layouts belonging to the company as his own.
The company further alleged that the accused also sold those layouts.
After an investigation during which the police arrested Mr Nnam and later granted him bail, the police concluded that the commissioner had a case to answer.
This promoted the justice minister’s office to charge Mr Nnam to court.
According a summary of the prosecution’s case against the defendant, Mr Nnam is accused of making false documents and authoring a false document contrary to section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, cap M18 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the act.
The summary of the prosecution’s case, which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, was signed by A.K Alilu, who is the Chief State Council on behalf of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
According to Mr Alilu, the case of the prosecution is that the defendant presented false affidavit of facts of Sunday Nene, Oguejiefor Egbo, Okoh Christian and Chigbogu Eze to appropriate government ministries and departments in Enugu State for approval of Aruga Layout, Obinagụ Obeagu community in the state.
But when the matter with charge number FHC/EN/CR/33/2020 was called up, the defendant, who was on bail by the police, was nowhere to be found.
His counsel, P.M.B. Onyia, told the court that the defendant is sick and could not make it to the court.
He apologised for the inability of Mr Nnam to be in court and asked the court to adjourn the matter to a later date when he might have recovered.
This prompted the judge, Dugbo Ogboghorie, to demand the medical report to back up the claim.
Mr Onyia, the defense counsel, immediately tendered a medical report to the court.
But the judge after reading the medical report flared up.
“This is not acceptable, what is the nature of the illness? This medical report is not from a government recognised hospital,” she said.
But the accused’s counsel, Mr Onyia, explained to the court that the hospital is where the accused usually goes for treatment.
The prosecution counsel, Abubakar Musa did not object to the adjournment.
The judge after listening to the explanations of the defendant’s counsel adjourned the matter to February 24, 2021.
She also urged the complainant to ensure that all necessary processes be served on the defendant.