Fraud allegation : Ohakim’s lawyer explains
* Threatens libel suit against THISDAY
By Steve Oko
Chief Aloy Ejimakor, Counsel to the former Governor of Imo State, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim , has cleared the air over the multi -million naira fraud allegation levelled against his client by one Chinyere Amuchinwa.
The lawyer in a press statement made available to Wawa News Global exonerated his client of any wrong doing, explaining that the petitioner who is already standing trial cleverly put up the said petition to defame the former governor.
He threatened libel suit against THISDAY Newspapers for publishing the said libelous falsehood without giving his client the opportunity to state his side.
Below is the full text of the statement entitled : ‘RE: THISDAY PUBLICATION OF 12TH AUGUST, 2020 BEARING LIBELOUS AND INJURIOUS FALSEHOODS AGAINST OUR CLIENT, DR IKEDI OHAKIM’:
“On 12th August, 2020, THISDAY Newspapers published – in its print and electronic versions – a story, captioned “Businesswoman Petitions Police, DSS, Accuses Ohakim of Fraud”. The publication bears several libelous allegations against our Client, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, a former Governor of Imo State. This highly injurious publication was based on a self-serving Petition filed – ostensibly for purposes of ultimately suborning this libel – by one Ms Chinyere Lilian Amuchinwa against Dr Ikedi Ohakim.
“On Saturday, August 8, 2020, our Client received a phone call from one Davidson Iriekpen of Thisday, who informed him that he was in possession of a Petition by Ms Amuchinwa against Dr Ohakim. Mr Iriekpen indicated that he desired our Client’s response before Thisday would proceed to publication. In the course of time, our Client and the undersigned Counsel exchanged text messages and phone calls with Mr Iriekpen and at some point it escalated to further calls and text messages between our Client and Thisday Managing Director, Mr Eni-B. These exchanges were specifically directed at persuading a reluctant Mr Iriekpe to avail our Client a copy of the Petition to which he had indicated he desired our response.
“Ultimately, despite his rising reluctance, Mr Iriekpen relented (on the directives of Thisday MD – according to his text) and sent us the Petition very late on Tuesday. All these exchanges, including all the GSM and WhatsApp messages between all parties herein mentioned are intact and being preserved as critical material electronic evidence.
“It is pertinent to mention that other four prominent media houses had also contemporaneously contacted our Client (during the same timeline as Thisday had done) on this same matter and all awaited our response, even as we have since tendered such response to all on August 12, 2020.
“It therefore came as a rude shock to us when – on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 (yesterday) – we woke up to the instant libelous publication by Thisday. Why Thisday – a publication that our Client highly respects would publish such a story without waiting for our Client’s response (which it had requested for) is a matter that will shortly be deconstructed at the appropriate time and forum – of our own choosing. It will suffice for now to simply provide a brief refutation of Thisday’s grand libel, which we shall now proceed to do as follows.
1. “It is not true (as alleged in the said publication) that Ms Amuchinwa purchased a land from Dr Ohakim or that she was defrauded by him to the tune of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500M) over purchase of any such land. If she did, she would have given Thisday (or even the Police) the documentary proof of payment of the purchase price, the Deed of Conveyance or Power of Attorney or other Legal Instrument of Sale and documentations that must – by Statute – be present in purchase/sale of real properties in Nigeria, especially of this magnitude and high value.
2. “It is also false that Dr Ohakim purchased any goods or other chattels from Ms Amuchinwa, valued at One Hundred and Ten Million Naira (N110M). To be sure, Ms Amuchinwa does not have any shop or outlet in Nigeria or elsewhere in the world that boasts of an impressive inventory that can supply goods worth such a humongous amount.
3. “Further, it is not true that Dr Ohakim was arrested over Ms Amuchinwa’s Petition and then granted an administrative bail. It was Ms Amuchinwa that was arrested, detained and then granted administrative bail and the matter over which she was arrested (assault of Dr Ohakim) is pending being charged to Court.
4. “What is true is that Ms Amuchinwa capitalized on a close and trusting relationship with Dr Ohakim and resorted to blackmailing, extorting, seducing and threatening Dr Ohakim since last year (2019) and Dr Ohakim has done his best, within the constraints of being a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), to resist and contain Ms Anuchinwa’s myriad misconducts towards his person. It came to a point where Ms Amuchinwa assaulted Dr Ohakim at Abuja, for which she was arrested, detained and later granted bail. This is a matter of verifiable public record.
5. “What is also true is that when Dr Ohakim could no longer bear Ms Amuchinwa’s antics, he preferred a Petition to the Inspector-General of Police on January 20, 2020. See attached copy. In the course of investigation of Dr Ohakim’s Petition, the Police requested further information/evidence (See attached copy), to which Dr Ohakim then replied through a Letter dated June 15, 2020, bearing the further information the Police sought from him (See attached File copy). We have adopted the considered decision of our Client that the said evidence (very lurid and prurient, as they were) should not be disclosed to the Media because our Client has an abiding commitment to protecting Ms Amuchinwa’s privacy, even as it might be legally advantageous to him not to do so.
6. “Further truth is that it was only after Dr Ohakim had filed his Petition in as far back as January 2020 and the Police had gone very far in its investigation that Ms Amuchinwa – as an afterthought – filed a Counter-Petition against Dr Ohakim on July 8, 2020, seven long months after Dr Ohakim’s Petition and almost one month after Dr Ohakim tendered damning evidence against her. So, it is easy to understand the motive behind the false allegations she made in her Petition. Thus, her overall credibility should therefore be judged on this score.
7. “Perhaps the most striking truth is that the said Amuchinwa had from 2019 (when she started this whole saga) to as recently as 21st January through 27th March, 2020 intermittently demonstrated contrition and proffered apologies to our Client, both verbally and in writing. Proofs of the many instances of those apologies and contrition have been well-preserved.
8. “It is curious that Thisday (and other media houses) are in easy possession of Ms Amuchinwa’s Petition but Dr Ohakim is yet to receive a copy thereof from the Police even after he made a written Application in that behalf since July 22, 2020 when he was informed of the Petition (See attached copy of the request). That says a lot about the absence of good faith trailing those that had leaked the Petition to the media and those publishing same without hearing Dr Ohakim’s side of the story.
9 “In conclusion, let me make it clear that Dr Ohakim is a Politically Exposed Person and thus seen (by some unsavory characters) as a soft target for clumsy schemes of the nature falsely stated in Amichinwa’s Petition. Therefore, as the members of the Media proceed to any publications on this matter, we expect them to be strictly guided by all the pertinent materials now at their disposal.
Barrister Aloy Ejimakor
Counsel to Dr Ikedi Ohakim
No 11 Ukpo Close, Garki 2, Abuja
Phone: 0803 265 1660
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