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Judge chides prosecutor for lack of diligent investigation

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An Enugu East Magistrate Court, on Thursday chided the prosecutor for lack of diligent investigation before charging a woman to court.

The Police had dragged one Cordelier Ebere 44, of Enugu East Local Government Area to the court for alleged refusal to pay up N2.5m debt.

Ebere, who pleaded not guilty, was arraigned on a three count-charge of conspiracy, stealing and advance free fraud by the police prosecutor.

The Prosecutor, Mr Innocent Otebe, told the court that the matter was reported at the Enugu Central Police Station on Jan. 9, by one Sam Okenwa.

Otebe said that Okenwa, a distributor with Eromega Company, Enugu, lodged a complaint against the defendant claiming she refused to pay him his N2.5 million after a business transaction.

Narrating her side of the story however, the defendant told the court that the complainant was a distributor with the company where she was working.

Ebere said that the management of the company assigned her to work with Okennwa for easy transaction.

She said that the transaction was going on smoothly until she was about giving birth and had to assign one Chisom, who replaced her since she had to be on maternity leave.

She added that Chisom did not remit the actual amount of goods given to her to distribute, totaling N2.5m.

The defendant told the court that the complainant got her arrested because she was the person who introduced her colleague; and Chisom, who was earlier arrested by the police and released on bail, was now at large.

The Magistrate, Mr Dennis Eko, said that the matter was purely a business transaction and charging the defendant for advance free fraud and stealing, was inappropriate.

Eko stressed that the court would not accept being used as a means to dump people in prison.

He advised the prosecutor to always do thorough investigation of cases before bringing them to court; and charge defendants based on the crime they committed.

The Magistrate granted the defendant bail of N20, 000 and one surety in like sum, adding that the surety must be resident in Enugu.

He adjourned the matter till May 22, for continuation of hearing.

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