The Enugu State Chairperson of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mrs Uchenwa N. Ujam, has petitioned the acting Chief Judge of the State, against the immediate past CJ, Justice Ngozi Emehelu for alleged judicial fraud.
Ujam, who is the second defendant in Suit No. E/13/2015 between: Charles Anya Iloerunachi, Obinna Onwuegbu Anya (Administrators of the Estate of Late Cyril Chukwuemeka Anya) as plaintiffs and the Enugu State Attorney General, Enugu and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs. Uchenwa Nebiem Ujam (By Attorney MR. David Ugwu) and Registrar of Deeds Ministry of Lands and Survey, Enugu State as defendants, alleged that the former CJ was trying to sign and backdate a judgement she delivered when she was still in service which she described as a judicial fraud.
In the petition dated September 17, 2021, and copied office of the Attorney General of the State, the NSE chair appealed to the Acting CJ to urgently intervene and halt the fraud, adding that what she was trying to do violate section 294 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The petition partly read: “With humility Sir, I am the 2nd Defendant in the above suit. The matter came up in the Court list of Hon. the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice N. Emehelu C.J. on Friday 3rd September, 2021 for judgment.
“I was unable to attend the Court on that date due to the burial rights ceremonies of my late husband Sir, Chief Dr. Ugwu N. Ujam. I later heard that the judgment was duly delivered, and my representative has continue to visit the Court clerk for a Certified Copy of the said Judgment.
“It is in public domain that the Hon. Former Chief Judge retired on 7th day of September, 2021 without issuing and signing the purported judgment. I have it on good authority that the purported judgment is still under typing to be returned to the retired judicial officer for signing and back dated.
“Please, I pray your Lordship to put a halt to this fraud, and send the case back for retrial de novo in line with due process of all.”
Our correspondence confirmed that the former Chief Judge, left office on 7/9/2021, and the statutory 7days allowed under section 294(1)of the Nigerian Constitution elapsed about the 14/9/2021 when she had seized to be a Judge in the High Court of Enugu state.
Section 294(1) of the constitution as amended stated that “every court established under this constitution shall deliver its decision in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses and furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof.”
Meanwhile, a legal practitioner and former governorship candidate of the Independent Democrats in Enugu State in 2015, Prince Charles Ibeh has condemned the act describing it as unconstitutional.
He lamented that a judgement the former CJ delivered on January 15, 2011 in Suit No. E/243m/2017 between: Innocent Owe and another Vs Dr George Eneh and another hasn’t been signed nine months after.
According to him “this is eight months and 11 days the judgement was delivered and has not been signed and she had retired. As I speak to you the decision has not been communicated to us.
“This is unacceptable. We filed an appeal against the judgement. We’re waiting for the copies of the court decision. You can imagine the frustration our client is going through now and other litigants who suffered the same fate” he lamented.