Benin couple in court for allegedly obtaining N3m under false pretence
A Benin couple, Peter Eweka and his wife, Stella, were on Thursday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Benin City for allegedly conspiring to obtain N3 million from one Mrs Juliet Aimienrovbiye under false pretence.
They were arraigned on a four-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence, stealing and converting the money for personal use and converting another N200,000 for the same purpose.
The accused couple, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Following their not guilty plea, Counsel for the petitioner, Mr F. B. Ojiezele, requested for the immediate commencement of the trial.
Counsel for the defendants, Mr Zion Agbon, however, objected to the request on the grounds that his clients had begun an out-of-court settlement of the money.
He told the court that the couple had already made two payments, adding that May 31 was slated for another payment to be made.
At this point, the presiding judge, Justice Adefunmilola Demi-Ajayi, questioned why the trial had to go on since settlement had commenced.
Counsel for the petitioner, however, told the court that his client did not inform him about the development.
He, nevertheless, called for the remand of the accused persons in prison custody, pending full payment and the determination of the substantive suit.
Again, Counsel for the defendants objected to Ojiezele’s request, saying that it would impede his clients’ efforts to make payment the next day.
He also informed the court that Stella was nursing a baby, allegedly suffering from sickle cell anaemia.
In determining the bail application, the judge sought to know whether the accused came from a royal family, pointing out that the name, Prince Eweka, implied a royal background.
Following an affirmation by the accused of his royal background, the judge directed them to produce a member of the royal family before the end of the day’s sitting to identify them in the presence of the assistant registrar of the court and in company of both counsels.
He said that failing to do so, they would be remanded in prison custody until June 13, when the trial would commence.
A member of the Benin royal family produced by the accused persons was rejected by the court registrar and counsel for the petitioner.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused persons were seen still making efforts to meet the bail condition at the time of filing this report.