A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sentenced Mr. Ugwouke Ugochukwu to two years imprisonment for forging a letter of waiver of the Federal Ministry of Health to repatriate a corpse from South Africa.
Ugochukwu, 33, was charged before Justice Salihu Garba by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for forging the signature of Dr. N. Sani-Gwarzo of the Federal Ministry of Health to repatriate the corpse of his cousin, Bartholomew Ugwu who died in South Africa.
ICPC counsel, Ekoi Akponimisngha told the court that the offence was committed on the 5th of November, 2014 and punishable under Section 97(2) of the Penal Code.
The charge brought against him reads in part, “That you agreed with one Ogwouke Uche (now at large) to do an illegal act to make a false letter of the Federal Ministry of Health, Port Health (Quarantine) Services to wit: waiver for the repatriation of corpse with reference number HMH/AB/505/VOL/220 dated 30th September, 2014 by superimposing the signature of one Dr. N. Sani-Gwarzo for the purposes of using same to repatriate the corpse of one Bartholomew Ikenna Ugwu who died in South Africa knowing same to be a false letter and intending that same be used as genuine.”
Counsel to the accused, Emeka Ugwani, admitted before the court that his client was guilty of the offence and prayed the court to be lenient in its judgment, noting that the accused has shown great remorse since the commission of the crime.
He said, “He has admitted that he is guilty of the crime and he has shown maximum remorse since the commission of the crime. I pray the court to be considerate because the accused did not waste the time of the court, he has cooperated fully with the court.”
Justice Garba, while ruling, observed that the accused would be punished to serve as a deterrent to others and sentenced him to two years imprisonment.
He said, “I have seen that you are a young man with family. The punishment will serve as a deterrent to others. You are sentenced to two years imprisonment.”
In a related development, Justice Kutigi of an Abuja High Court has sentenced Mr. Obaemeka Ifeanyi Augustine to nine months imprisonment for forging visa documents and impersonating the Senior Special Assistant on Projects to the FCT Minister.
The accused was charged by Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a three-count charge that includes impersonating a public officer contrary to section 363, 364 and 132 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of Northern Nigeria 1990.