By Obinna Odogwu
The Senator representing Anambra South in the Senate, Sen. Andy Uba, yesterday debunked the N50 million debt allegations leveled against him by Oranto Petroleum Limited and its Chairman, Prince Arthur Eze. He insisted that he did not take any loan from Oranto Petroleum Limited or at anytime solicited for financial assistance from the company, its chairman or any other person for that matter.
He said that the N50 million being claimed as debt by the company and its Chairman was money given out in installments in bits and in pieces by Prince Arthur Eze for the mobilization of party members. He maintained that he did not at anytime request for financial assistance from Arthur Eze for any reasons at all and had never had any cause to solicit for financial assistance from him.
The reaction of the lawmaker was on the heels of a judgment delivered by Justice C.N. Mbonu – Nwenyi, sitting at Ekwulobia High Court, which ruled that the N50 million “gift” was a loan.
In a statement made available to Daily Sun in Awka by media assistant to the Senator, Mr. Uchem Obi, a lawyer, Uba insisted, that contrary to the claims of the oil company, its Chairman, Prince Arthur Eze, made the unsolicited donation as has become his reputation, even though, many of these donations are never redeemed.
Obi disclosed that Arthur Eze also made a donation of N5 million to PDP youths in Uga town in Aguata LGA, which cheque he said was drawn in the name of the Senator’s Personal Assistant, Mr. Chike Okeke and wondered if the youths or Chike Okeke would also be sued in order to refund the donation.
He said, “Arthur Eze is well known for making rampant and spontaneous donations at public functions, which often leaves sour tastes in the mouths of many of his supposed beneficiaries.”
He continued “He was therefore in character when he made the freewill donation of N50 million to Senator Andy Uba to support his re-election campaign. The Senator had no reason to suspect this as Greek gift as Prince Arthur Eze had also at a church service in St. Peter’s Anglican Church Uga, while Uba was being hosted donated N5 million to PDP Youths in Uga. Will he also ask the youths to pay back? We wonder how a freewill donation would turn over night to become a loan.”
Prince Arthur Eze’s antics are well in the open and in the public glare. One of his sponsored protesters who stormed the National Assembly last month disclosed that they were paid and mobilized by Prince Eze to stage a fake protests to discredit Distinguished Senator Andy Uba.
On the court judgment, Obi said the judgment was curious. He said that the matter which was tried at Ekwulobia High Court in Aguata council area of Anambra State raised a potent question of jurisdiction and therefore of bias.
He argued that since Sen. Uba lives in Abuja and had received the cheque in Enugu the trial should be in Enugu or Abuja to conform to existing law.
Hear him “What they did in this matter was what lawyers refer to as forum shopping. Ekwulobia High Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter that was begun and concluded outside the jurisdiction.”
Obi continued that Order 2, Rule 5, subrule 2 of the High Court Rules of Anambra State 2006 provides that a suit tried in a wrong judicial division shall be considered incompetent.”
He disclosed that Senator Uba had since April 21st 2017 appealed the judgment in the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division.
“We have appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Enugu in suit number CA/E/197/2017. And it was filed on April 21, 2017.”
We want the Court of Appeal to determine if the trial judge sitting in Ekwulobia correctly assumed jurisdiction to hear the suit leading to the appeal, given the facts that the cheques were issued at Enugu and Andy Uba resides at Abuja out of the jurisdiction of the court.
Also speaking, the lawmaker’s Personal Assistant, Mr. Chike Okeke, said: “I remember that in 2010 during an award ceremony held at Eke Akwa Square in Ufuma town in Orumba North LGA, Prince Arthur Eze had attended the function in company of Prof. Charles Soludo and former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro and had announced a donation of N10 million to the community. It is sad that till now that donation has not been redeemed. I know this because I am from Ufuma town and I was a recipient of an award that day.”
Obi called for caution on the part of judges who are fond of delivering controversial judgments and warned that, the cases of judges standing criminal trials for receiving inducements, to pervert justice, should be a moral lesson to all judges whose consciences may be up for sale by unscrupulous people.