Enugu Chief Magistrate Under Investigation for Alleged Property Fraud

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The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has directed the Force Criminal Investigation Department to investigate Chief Magistrate Henry Asogwa, and his wife, Chibuzor Mamah, for an A fraudulent sale and conversion of property belonging to Xaudre Limited and its Director, Dr. Josef Onoh.

 

The directive followed a petition filed by Xaudre Limited through its lawyer, Mr Ray Nnaji on May 10, 2024.

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Afam Osigwe

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

 

The IG through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, in a letter dated May 16, 2024, assigned the investigation of the case to Team A, a crack detective with an order to investigate and make out its findings to him.

 

The letter, with Ref CB:7000/X/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.639/181 addressed to The Commissioner of Police (Administration) Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department of the Nigeria Police, was signed by CSP Muhammed B. Gashua, for DIG FCIID, Abuja.

 

It partly reads, “Re: Petition Against Barrister Henry C. Asogwa and wife, Madam Chibuzor Mamah, Prince Nnaemeka Ugwu, Mr Abah Maduabuchi, Mr Okafor Nnaemeka, Mr Nnamdi Amu, Mr Monday Onyia, Umeh Onyeka, Kelechi Ekezie (represented by relatives) and Mr. Ephriam Onodu for fraudulent transactions with regards to….” (Find an attached copy of a letter dated 14th May 2024 received from Hon Ray A. Nnaji & Associates on the above subject.)

 

“The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department directs you treat and bring findings, please,” the directive ordered.

 

The IG had in April, following a separate petition by Xaudre’s counsel, Ogochukwu Onyekwulwe, directed the Enugu State Police Commissioner, in a letter referenced CB:7000/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL.710/90 to investigate – “RE: Complaint of Malicious Damage to Property by Barrister Asogwa Henry C. and Madam …

 

“Attached herewith is a copy of a letter dated 26th April 2024 received from Ogochukwu Onyekwulwe and Co. on the above-underlined subject.”

 

The letter, signed by Principal Staff Officer II to Inspector General of Police, ACP Idris Abdullahi Abubakar, reads, “I respectfully convey the directive of the Inspector-General of Police that you handle.”

 

Meanwhile, a copy of the petition, sighted by South-East PUNCH, on Sunday, accused Asogwa, his wife, and nine buyers of conspiring to defraud Xaudre Limited and using policemen from the Central Police Station in Enugu to threaten its director and perpetuate the fraud.

 

Asogwa, however, denied the allegations, claiming that Onoh was trying to tarnish his image.

 

The petitioner had claimed that Asogwa used his position as a serving Chief Magistrate in the Enugu State judiciary and sold some plots of land at Tenerite Gardens Valley Estate Extensions, Forest Reserve, Onoh Quarters, Phase 3, Iva Valley, GRA, Enugu, after the same were allocated to some government appointees as compensatory plots with definite instruction to develop within a maximum period of one year or will be revoked without fail, had been revoked.

 

It further alleged that they fraudulently sold plots at Tenerite Garden Valley Estate Extensions, and according to the petition, the plots of land sold are “Plots 13, 13a, 14, 15, 11, 18, 19, 20, 22b, 22e, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 28a.

 

The petition added, “Thereafter, Mr Asogwa made himself chairman of the Estate and took advantage of it to personally convert the said plots with fictitious documents and therefore made several millions of naira from the sale for himself.”

 

It explained that the said plots of land were originally allocated to some government appointees in 2017 without payment, “only on the condition that they will develop the plots allocated within one year or same will be revoked.”

 

The petition added that when they failed to develop the same, their properties were revoked in 2018 of which notice of revocation was acknowledged and received by the allottees.

 

The firm added, “We were shocked to find out that the same serving Chief Magistrate, who parades himself as the chairman of the residents of the Estate in their WhatsApp group falsified title documents and sold off the revoked plots to the above-petitioned individuals, while suppressing facts and contractual agreement as contained in the sub-underlease the developer Xaudre holds with all allottees.

 

“He even used the maiden name of his wife to effect the sale of some of the plots of land.”

 

Surprisingly, Nnaji said that the suspects, led by Asogwa, maliciously wrote a frivolous petition to the Central Police Station, Enugu, against his clients of which the Divisional Crime Officer 1 in charge of the station, named Superintendent Charles Dafe, compromised his official position by serving our client’s arraignment notice with false residential address without conducting any investigation on the matter, as a grand design and plans by the said Asogwa to get the matter assigned to a friendly magistrate, so that his clients will be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre in Enugu without bail, just to unduly punish them.

 

The petition further averred that it took the intervention of the state Police Commissioner, who seized the matter and transferred it to the State Criminal Investigation Department, where the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge was designated to look into the matter.

 

The petition continued, “As the matter was being looked into by the said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Asogwa openly threatened our clients with elimination in no distant time without fail, boasting that he will use the suspects as mentioned herein and others to instigate multiple frivolous petitions against our clients to the police and ensure he is remanded in prison just to embarrass him.

 

“True to his words another petition was written to the police and it was assigned to the Octopus Squad, Abakpa Area Command, Enugu against our clients, thereby putting our clients into serious apprehension due to the status of Asogwa as a serving Chief Magistrate in Enugu State Judiciary, hence the urgent need for this petition to you.”

 

Citing an arraignment notice the police issued to Onoh, even without making a statement, Xaudre told the IGP that Asogwa has the capacity and influence as a serving magistrate to truncate proper investigation of the matter if it is approved for the Enugu State Command to handle.

 

It added, “We, on behalf of our client are soliciting your quick intervention by ordering a thorough, proper, and objective investigation of the fraudulent activities of the said suspects in the Estate under reference to ensure that the law is allowed to follow its course, regardless of the status of the individuals involved, as nobody is above the law.”

 

The Punch

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