A former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike has been given a four charge by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Specifically, the former chief judge will be arraigned at a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on four counts bordering on false asset declarations. Although the application for the arraignment has been filed before the court, no date has been fixed for the arraignment.
The EFCC also obtained an interim forfeiture order freezing the Zenith Bank account of the former judge with a balance of N50m. The EFCC said the forfeiture order was made in response to a prayer of the EFCC seeking the freezing, seizure and forfeiture of properties and assets linked to the former chief judge. Umezulike is being investigated in connection with his alleged involvement in abuse of office and receiving gratification.
The National Judicial Council had on September 29, 2016 recommended Justice Umezulike for compulsory retirement. The NJC said it recommended Umezulike to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for compulsory retirement for delivering judgment in a case 126 days after final addresses were adopted by parties, and for other instances of abuse of office.
The NJC also found the judge guilty of allegedly receiving a controversial donation of N10m from a businessman, Arthur Eze, during his book launch while two cases in which Eze was said to have had “vested interest”, were in the judge’s court.
According to investigators, Umezulike allegedly received deposits from politicians and lawyers running into hundreds of millions of naira.