Members of the proscribed Aba Tricycle Riders Integrated Welfare Association (ATRIWA) have petitioned the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu against a lawyer, St. Moses Ogbonna over alleged embezzlement of the defunct association’s N6m.
According to a petition signed by Anthony Egwim, Chairman; Kingsley Ogbonnaya, Secretary; among others, a copy of which was made available to 247ureports.com, the defunct ATRIWA members contracted the lawyer to register the Association for them.
They lamented that after the registration process, the lawyer refused to release the certificate of incorporation and the seal of the association to them, but instead forced them to use his office for operation and issued his chamber’s receipt to intending members.
They alleged that when they persisted in their demand for the seal and certificate of incorporation, the lawyer who the association members said they paid for the services he rendered to them, rather prepared a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) where the lawyer’s NGO (Easylife Initiative for Rural Youths) would have 60 percent rights and ATRIWA 40 percent to which they refused to sign.
The defunct ATRIWA members said as a result of non release of the certificate of incorporation to them, the association was unable to open a bank account and that all the monies realized was paid into the lawyer’s personal account with a commercial bank on Zenith bank, Eziukwu road branch, Aba.
They also accused Ogbonna of not only using distorted ATRIWA receipts to issue to members of his newly formed Tricycle Commuters Cooperative Union Ltd. (TRICOOP), but has forcefully occupied their office at No. 1 Industry Road, Aba. The group lamented that the unruly conducts of the lawyer led to Abia state government proscribing ATRIWA in 2013 as he continued to issue threats to the latter, including the former Police Area Commander in Aba, ACP Rabiu Dayi and duping unsuspecting members of the public huge sums of money using the name of the Association.
The petitioners appealed to the Speaker to compel the lawyer to return the said over N6m to the association arising from N1000 registration fee paid by 6,000 members of the group, release their certificate of incorporation, seal and vacate their office without delay.
They alleged that Ogbonna is yet to return to the original owner the sum of N150, 000 forgotten in a tricycle which was returned to ATRIWA’s office by a tricycle operator named Mr. Ogbonnaya Nwaohiri, adding that the former has blocked all efforts to trace the owner.
When contacted for his reaction, Barr. Ogbonna described the petition as frivolous, adding those who signed it have since been expelled from the Association and threatened to sue any media house who publishes the story.
“Why didn’t they tell you how the money was generated and paid into my account? These people are no longer members of ATRIWA. For the ATRIWA members, I’m their lawyer; I have the right to transact any business on their behalf. I want to tell you that anyone of you publishes this petition will meet me in court,” he threatened.