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Convicted teacher remains on payroll for months




A PRIMARY school teacher in Anambra State, Mrs Agnes Uzoyibo Agbanusi, who was convicted by an Nnewi Chief Magistrate’s Court on May 8, 2015 and is serving a six- month jail term has been discovered to have continued receiving her salaries, even while in prison.

Mrs Agbanusi, who was hitherto teaching at Community Primary School, Uruagu Nnewi, Nnewi-North Local Council, was convicted in May 2015 by Magistrate Obiora Obidike on two count charges of conspiracy and giving false information to the police against an Nnewi-based businessman, Mr Bethram Onwunzo.

The teacher, alongside her husband and daughter, had falsely accused Mr Onwunso of invading their premises on Sept 1, 2009 in an attempt to kidnap her husband.

She was charged to court and convicted in the suit No. NMC/23C/2010.

She had in a petition dated Sept 10,2009 to the Nnewi Police Area Command alleged that one Mr. Bethram Onwunzo accompanied by six “hefty men whose faces looked strange, covering their faces with black spectacles, wearing black suites” stormed their residence at about 8.30pm on a mission to kidnap her husband, Mr. Benneth Izuegbunam, but that luckily for her, her husband who is a security guard at a Magistrate Court, Nnewi had left for his duty post before their arrival.

She also alleged that apparently infuriated Onwunzo, before leaving their residence that night, left a message of threat with their daughter, Chiamaka that Izuegbunam’s life was in danger and that he would no longer live in or be a citizen of Nnewi.

It was on the basis of the petition that a team of policemen from the Nnewi Area Command, led by P. C. Nwokike, accosted Onwunzo at Nnewi Magistrate Court premises as he was coming out from the court, after a proceeding in a dispute between him and Agnes’ husband, and made to arrest him. He, however, quickly escaped into his lawyer’s car as he did not know their true identity since they were all in mufti.

But, following a petition that Onwunzo later forwarded to the police written on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Oseloka Okigwe, it was discovered that contrary to Agnes’s petition, Onwunzo was not even in Nigeria on that fateful September 1, he was alleged to have stormed the defendant’s husband’s residence accompanied by a gang of six alleged kidnappers. He actually travelled out of the country on August 20, 2009 with members of his family to Paris on holiday and only returned to the country on September 2, 2009, just a day, after the day Agnes claimed he came to kidnap her husband.

Meanwhile, the defendant had earlier in 2010, during the trial of the case handled by about three other magistrates before Chief Magistrate Obidike eventually delivered judgment on the matter, been committed to prison for one month without any option of fine for contempt.

When contacted over the matter, the Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha and the Chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB), Chief Nzemeka Olisa, respectively denied being aware of the fraud but promised to carry out investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, disappointed that Agnes had continued to enjoy her salaries and other entitlements and privileges as a public servant, Onwunzo has petitioned the state Commissioner for Education, copied Chairman of ASUBEB, Education Secretary, Nnewi-North local government, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State and the Director, State Security Services (SSS) urging them to sack the convict from the state civil service and to make sure that all salaries she collected after she was convicted to prison was retrieved as it bordered on fraud.

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