What looked like a mild drama played out yesterday during the court session of alleged missing bailout fund which came up for hearing at an Owerri Magistrate Court in charge No OW/451C/2015 when the Witness opened up on the vexed issue of bailout fund.
The witness who is said to be one of the suspects in the case of theft in Uche Nwosu’s house,earlier rumoured to have been silenced and put out of circulation, surfaced in court yesterday to give account of what he knows, that transpired as Principal Witness two (W.2) to the alleged theft.
In his testimony, he gave graphic explanation of how he was arrested by men of Nigerian police while being examined by counsel to Community Watchdog, Barr E.C Okafor.”On November 2, 2015, some policemen stormed my house in Owerri and arrested me in connection with alleged theft without presenting any warrant of arrest.
Efforts to ascertain the reason for my arrest initially, proved abortive following the refusal of police to inform me of the reason for that. According to him, he couldnt also, understand the rationale for the arrest hence he made frantic effort to reach some of his relatives to inform them of the ugly development, in case anything bad happened to him”,the suspect revealed.
According to him, it was after he was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), of the State Police Command, where he was compelled to write a statement on what he knew about the money stolen from Mr Uche Nwosu’s house, that he had an idea of those behind his arrest.Continuing,he said, there was a wide spread rumour that what was stolen from Uche Nwosu’s house was part of the Imo bailout fund.
He told the police, that he did not know anything about the alleged missing bailout fund, and was slapped by one Bawa, a member of the interrogating team, at the state CID Owerri. He said,it was after the slap from Bawa, because of his refusal to own up accusation as an accomplice in the theft of the fund,he was subsequently dumped in the police cell for 28 days without trial and was later taken on bail by his uncle.
Addressing journalists shortly after the court proceeding, the suspect, Mr Okechukwu, explained that his friend worked as a house-keeper to Uche Nwosu at the time of incident and had used “Okey welder”, to save his phone number. Upon arresting him over the theft and after going through his handset to ascertain his recent calls, that they saw his name and number and suspected that he was the welder that assisted the thieves to break the safe inside Uche Nwosu’s house, and elope with billions of Naira for which there was an uproar in Okorocha’s abode.
The police called his number and ordered him to give them the direction to his house. This he volunteered, without suspecting that both his friend and himself were in deep trouble.
However, at the police station, all effort he made to prove that he was not the welder that broke the safe proved abortive, until his uncle,a former member of Imo State House of Assembly warned the police and other parties concerned in the illegal arrest of the consequences of detaining an innocent person over a criminal act that he was reluctantly, granted bail.
The uncle had vowed to personally expose the improprieties leading to Okechukwu’s arrest thus compelling the authorities at government house Owerri to order his release. At this stage, the police handed Okechukwu over to his uncle.
Okechukwu in another response to a press enquiry, on whether he has been in contact with his ill-fated friend who was working for Uche Nwosu as housekeeper, before the missing bailout fund, said, since he was arrested and later released, he has been calling his friends number all to no avail and no one has told him his whereabout.
According to Okechukwu, one of his relatives that resides at Umuahia, had expressed worry over his safety, since no one has heard from him since after the forced release from detention.
Also addressing the press, counsel to Community Watchdog Publisher, Barr E.C Okafor, stated that he is entertaining serious concern over the safety of his clients and witnesses since it was rumoured that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Ezeji handling the matter was poisoned. He expressed fear over the safety of other witnesses saying, the development is threatening and frightful, coupled with series of threat the publisher receives.
The case was adjourned to November 16, 2018, when Community Watchdog and Precious Nwadike are expected to produce more witnesses for cross examination. The case of Imo missing bailout fund has been subsisting in various courts of jurisdiction, since 2015.