Anambra 20221: Shocker for Soludo, gets court summon on ‘criminal charges’

July 16, 2021
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The candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has issued a direct criminal summons to appear before an Upper Area Court, Abuja, over alleged serial abuse of office and breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers while in office as the CBN Governor between 29th May, 2004 – 29th May, 2009. The court summon was issued while APGA is still struggling to resolve the internal rancour in the party as campaign for the governorship election is in the offing.

The criminal summons marked DC/CR/556/2021 was said to be issued in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code (CAP 30:255), signed by Gambo Garba of the Upper Area Court, Zuba, Abuja.

The summon was said to be in response to a complaint filed on July 14, 2021, by counsel to the complainant, Ezea Ferdinand. It was disclosed that the direct Criminal Complaint made by one Oliver Bitrus pursuant to Sections 88 and 89 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
The Upper Area Court, Zuba, Abuja, had ordered Prof. Soludo to make an appearance before the court on August 23, 2021, to defend himself on the allegations against him.

Oliver Bitrus had alleged that Prof. Soludo between the period he held office as a Public Officer flagrantly breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officer by buying or acquiring interest in a property known and described as No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom. The property is covered by File Plan of Tile No. MX362301.

Oliver alleged that the property, was bought or acquired using a proxy and/or nominee company known as Universal Energy Company Limited, and which investigation revealed was incorporated in the Isle of Man; and now used to round-trip public funds for the purchase.  He revealed that the purchase price of £2,150, 000 was paid on 20th October 2006 in a single tranche, which sum was not fairly attributable to his income as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the material time.

The property was said to be currently occupied by Prof. Soludo, his spouse and children, being used as personal and official addresses for all their companies and other business undertakings.

Oliver Bitrus further disclosed that companies owned and operated by the Soludos and domiciled at the said property, include “ZINORA LIMITED: A private company owned by Mrs. Nonye Soludo (spouse of Chukwuma Charles Soludo). This is company limited by shares which was registered on 29th January 2013 with Company No: 8379214 and also has its registered office at No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom.

“The SOLUDO FOUNDATION: Registered on 24th July 2014 as a private company limited by guarantee with its registered office at No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom. It also has the Company No: 9145134. The company has the following persons as members or directors – Nonye Frances Soludo, Chukwuma Soludo, Ozonna Tochukwu Soludo, Ifeatu Adaora Nnenna Soludo etal with having the above-mentioned property as their address.

“ALLSTERS INVESTMENT LIMITED: Registered on 2nd September 2015 as a private company limited by shares with Company No: 9757553. It has its registered address at the same No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom and also has the following persons as Directors – Mrs. Nonye F. Soludo, Miss Ifeatu Adaora Nnenna Soludo, Mr. Ozonna Tochukwu Soludo and Mr. Chinua Belolisa Naeto Soludo with all the directors having the property in issue as the address.

Oliver Bitrus also claimed that a sequential trail of evidence has revealed that while holding public office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the defendant abused his office and breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by using a proxy, nominee or trustee company – Universal Energy Company Limited, incorporated in the Isle of Man for syndication of fund, to acquire the property and deliberately failed to declare the said property or his obvious interest therein in his Assets Declaration Form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau. Oliver Bitrus argued that as a result, Prof. Soludo flagrantly violated Article 11 of the Part 1, 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and thereby liable to the penal sanction of disqualification from holding any other public office for a period of 10 years and forfeiture of the illicit property to the Federal Government of Nigeria pursuant to Article 18(2) of the Law.

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