The Registrar of a Magistrate Court in Enugu state, Anikwu Ambrose Ifesinachi, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment without the option of fine for demanding bribe in the course of discharging his official duty.
In the judgment delivered by Justice A. A. Nwobodo on 17th March 2014 convicted the accused person for contravening section 10 (a) (ii) of the ICPC Act of 2000.
Ifesinachi was accused of demanding a bribe of N80, 000.00 (eighty thousand naira) from the relation of a suspect before he would process the warrant of release of the suspect who was in custody for about two years.
After persistent demand, the relation approached ICPC and the Commission gave him marked money. As soon as the accused collected the money from the relation, he was arrested by the operatives of the ICPC.
Consequently, the accused was charged on two counts for demanding and receiving bribe under the ICPC Act in the High Court of Enugu.
The ICPC had in the charge sheet filed before the court averred that Anikwu Ambrose Ifesinachi ‘m’ on or about June 2010, whilst being the clerk of the Magistrate Court, Awgu, received the sum of N80,000 (Eighty Thousand Naira) from one Arukwe Charles purportedly for Chief Magistrate J.S Ede of the same Magistrate Court, Awgu before the warrant of release could be processed to effect the release of one Maduabuchi Oji from prison custody
In the course of the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses and tendered some exhibits while the accused gave evidence without calling any witness. In his defence, he claimed to have collected the money on behalf of the complainants whom he did not call as a witness.
This case commenced in 2010 but suffered numerous adjournments at the instance of the defence. At the close of the case, ICPC filed their final written address on 29th January 2014 which was adopted.
In the judgment of the Court, the Accused was discharged on Count 1 but was convicted on count 2 and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment without option of fine.