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*I am disappoint – Okeke
By Ejike Nwangwu, Onitsha
An Anambra High Court sitting in Onitsha has discharged and acquitted three suspects who allegedly kidnapped the Chief Executive Officer of GUO Group of Companies, Chief Godwin Okeke on August 23, 2009. The suspects: Kelechi Okafor, Anthony Okafor and Alexander Onyinaya, have been in detention after being arrested at different places and arraigned by the Police in 2013.
In his judgment on Thursday in Onitsha, Justice Alexander Okumah held that the prosecution counsel, Mr Chris Ajugwe, Chief Okeke and other prosecution witnesses failed to prove their case against the suspects. According to the judge, there is no evidence to show that Kelechi Okafor was involved in the kidnap.
“None of the evidences by Okeke indicated how he identified Anthony Okafor to the Police as one of the suspects.There is no clear, credible or direct evidence that the Vigilante and the Police arrested Anthony Okafor at Nsugbe in Anambra East Local Government Area.
“The material evidence of Okeke against Alexander Onyinaya was contradictory.The allegation that Onyinaya was the mastermind of the kidnap is a suspicion that the prosecution witnesses failed to prove.
Okumah further held that a judge or court was not entitled to embark on speculation.
The judge said it was the finding of the court that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the first, second and third defendants in this case.
“Consequently, the first, second and third defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted,” Okumah held in his three-hour judgment.
Reacting, Okeke expressed disappointment at the decision of the court but noted that his lawyers may decide on whether to appeal the judgment.
According to him, the case was in the interest of the state because since the arrest of the suspects and recovery of their arms and ammunition, the state had remained peaceful and calm.
“Since their arrest, bank robbery and kidnapping have reduced but since I am not a lawyer, I leave the rest to God,” he said.
Also reacting, counsel to one of the accused persons, Mr Uchenna Nwafor described the judgment as “justice manifestly done.”
On his part, counsel to Okeke, Mr Chirs Ajugwe also expressed shock at the release of the suspects by the trial judge.He said the decision to appeal the judgment would be decided by the Attorney-General of the state.