By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Few days after the media were awashed with the news that vehicles belonging to Senator Andy Uba were seized over a N50 million he purportedly owed to Engr Arthur Eze; Senator Uba has debunked the claim by Engr. Eze as untrue.
Reacting to the news in a press statement, Senator Andy Uba, who is the immediate-past Senator representing Anambra South, denied taking any loan from Arthur Eze or his company, Oranto Petroleum Limited. He further explained that the ₦50m was a donation Arthur Eze made to him during his campaign for senate in 2015 at St. James Anglican Church Uga, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State.
Senator Uba also released a video footage where Prince Arthur Eze was heard making the donation in the church; and said that he was dumbfounded and shocked when Engr. Arthur Eze turned around to obtain a fraudulent judgement from Anambra state high court, Ekwulobia Division in 2017, claiming that he’s owing him.
Attached is the full statement and the video footage so shared by Senator Uba:
“My attention has been drawn to the defamatory, maligning and character injurious publications in the print and electronic medium, as well as social media platforms on malicious falsehood and allegations arising from the execution of the judgement of the High Court of Anambra State in suit No: AG/94/2016, through the bailiffs of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja on 23/8/2022.
“It is fundamentally imperative to unequivocally state in clear and categorical terms the true factual position, thus:
“For the avoidance of doubt, I never borrowed N50,000,000 (fifty million naira only) from prince Arthur Eze, both of us only attended a church service at St. James Anglican Church Uga, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State during my senatorial campaign in the build-up to 2015 general elections.
“In the course of the said church service, Prince Arthur Eze donated N50,000,000 (fifty million naira only) to support my senatorial political campaign on the altar and the entire congregant was engulfed with joy and happiness which made the officiating priest extend a warm handshake of gratitude and appreciation for his kind gesture and I equally sent a letter of appreciation dated 22/2/2015 to Prince Arthur Eze.
“I was dumbfounded, surprised and flabbergasted having learnt that my bosom friend and brother, had through his company Oranto Petroleum Limited through which the said cheque of N50,000,000 (fifty million nairas only) was drawn had filed an action one year after at the High Court of Anambra State, Aguata division sitting at ekwulobia in suit No: AG/94/2016, through what they called (undefended list) Procedure or liquidated money demand or summary judgment procedure. The pertinent question on the lips of many people would be, do people go to the rooftops to praise or thank others for granting them loan facilities? How many people have you seen that secured a loan facility from a bank or an individual and went to church praising the creditor for granting them such a loan facility which would only be repaid?
“I quickly engaged my lawyers who filed my defence on merit denying the allegations that the said money was a loan but a freewill donation, unfortunately despite our obvious defence and issues having been joined, the trial court refused and failed to afford us fair hearing by having the matter heard on full-blown trial where witnesses will be called and evidence led, but proceeded to hear the matter on (undefended list) procedure or summary judgment procedure, that is, hearing the case on only the allegations and documents filed by the plaintiff (Oranto Petroleum Limited) without contradiction, whatsoever. The court went ahead to grant all the reliefs and entered judgement in favour of the plaintiff on 6/3/2017.
“In exercise of my constitutional right, I appealed to the Court of Appeal Enugu division culminating to Senator Andy Andy –Vs- Oranto Petroleum Limited, Appeal No: CA/E/197/2017, challenging the said decision of the High Court of Anambra State among other things, on the ground that the said money was a freewill donation and not a loan as well as a challenge that hearing the matter on the undefended list without my input amount to a breach of my fundamental right to fair hearing guaranteed under section 36 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended), which occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
“Consequent upon the above, parties filed and exchanged their respective briefs of argument and the appeal was set down for hearing on the 26th of february, 2019. However, there was an intervention by some Anambra stakeholders and I was approached by Prince Austin Ndigwe (Uzu-Awka) who is a mutual friend of myself and Prince Arthur Eze for an amicable settlement of the matter out of court.
“I was thereupon, after a meeting between myself and Prince Arthur Eze at his Enugu residence which was championed by Prince Austin Ndigwe (Uzu-Awka), instigated by way of advice to withdraw the appeal on the ground that Prince Arthur Eze had then become satisfied that the money was a donation for my senatorial political campaign and not a loan as he was meant to believe earlier.
“Prince Arthur Eze persuaded me through the said Prince Austin Ndigwe (Uzu-Awka) to discontinue the appeal and to demonstrate good faith and brotherliness, I quickly instructed my lawyer to withdraw the appeal, even though we ought to extract terms of settlement as a condition because the appeal was at the concluding stage. Consequently, based on the notice of withdrawal filed by my lawyer, the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 29th February 2019.
“I was deeply astonished and shocked beyond bone marrow when I learnt that my brother and mutual friend, Prince Arthur Eze despite his undertakings at the meeting had reneged his promises on the gentlemanly and brotherly agreement we had and surprisingly surfaced in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, registered and immediately executed the said judgement of the High Court of Anambra State, Aguata division sitting at Ekwulobia.The subject matter of my appeal to the Court of Appeal Enugu, with the sole intention to embarrass, defame and reduce my reputation before the right-thinking members of the public using numerous hired social media platforms.
“For purposes of clarity, I attached herewith a video clip of Prince Arthur Eze’s donation of N50,000,000 to my political campaign for election into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent the Anambra South Senatorial District in the Senate of the National Assembly, made at St. James Anglican church Uga, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State.
“This is contrary to the information being circulated in several print and electronic mediums, as well as social media platforms to the effect that the above sum was a interest-free friendly loan, which is a calculated attempt to defame and malign my noble character and hard-earned reputation.
“It is shocking and baffling how a man will stand on the sacred altar of God and donate to the political aspiration and campaign of his brother, of which the officiating priest extended a warm handshake of gratitude and appreciation for his kind gesture and later turn around to deny the purpose of the donation.
“I have deep respect for rule of law and sanctity of our judicial system with an unblemished political career as a devoted public figure, former Governor of Anambra State, former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and former Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs to President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as a loving Father, dedicated Christian and law-abiding citizen of this great nation, strongly believe that justice will be done in the final analysis.
“I, therefore, call on the general public, men and women of goodwill as well as political friends and supporters, business associates and family members, with an enduring passion for justice, fair play and equity, to remain calm.”