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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Rtd. Anambra Cleric Sells Same Portion of Land to Different People, Flees Courtroom to Evade Incarceration

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Magistrate Court 4 in Atani, Ogbaru Magistrate District, Anambra State, has issued a warrant for the arrest of retired Anglican priest, Rev. Ossy Molokwu, who is accused of double-selling four plots of land.

Rev. Molokwu was said to have fled the court premises to evade incarceration after the court delivered its judgment, ordering his remandment in the Correctional Center, Onitsha, until he complies with the court’s order.

The arrest warrant, dated July 5, 2024, directs the Nigerian Police Force, through the State Commissioner of Police, to arrest Rev. Ossy Molokwu on sight if he does not submit himself to the Correctional Center, Onitsha.

The court had, in a landmark judgment, ordered that Rev. Molokwu be remanded in prison custody until he restores the four plots of land he fraudulently sold to two different persons and pays a compensation fine of 1.2 million naira to the nominal complainant, Nduka Johnson Mozie.

“The accused person is to restore four plots of land and pay 1.2 million naira as compensation to the nominal complainant, Nduka Johnson Mozie,” the judgment partly reads.

According to eyewitness, Nnazimuzo A. Ugorji, a private legal practitioner and Principal of the Nnazimuzo A. Ugorji & Associates, as well as the prosecuting counsel for the nominal plaintiff, it was a dramatic scene on July 4, 2024, at the Chief Magistrate Court Atani in Ogbaru Magistrate District, Anambra State. Rev. Molokwu, who was about to be remanded in prison custody, fled the court premises under the pretense of needing to ease himself.

Narrating how it happened, he said: a judgment was delivered on July 4, 2024, by His Worship Chinwe O. Aniekwensi following a suit with charge number: MGB/39C/2021 brought by the police. The judgment receipt was issued last Thursday.

“In his judgment, His Worship C. O. Aniekwensi sentenced the defendant to be remanded in the correctional center pending his compliance with the court’s order. The accused person is to restore the four plots of land to the nominal complainant and pay 1.2 million naira in compensation for wasting the complainant’s time in court and for items stolen from the land,” said Ugorji.”

Narrating further, he said: “The defendant, Rev. Ossy Molokwu, had, in 2006, sold the four plots of land at Ogbakuba in Ogbaru L.G.A. to my client, Nduka Johnson Mozie, but later resold the same land to another person, a former L.G.A. Chairman, pretending to be the owner.

“We petitioned the IG of police, who ordered the AIG, Zone 13, Ukpo, to investigate the matter. The police report concluded that Rev. Ossy Molokwu was fraudulent and had double-sold the land in question. He was arrested, granted bail within the bounds of the law, and the matter was charged to court in 2021.”

“The matter before Magistrate Court 4 Atani, Ogbaru, was given accelerated hearing after I applied for and obtained an Executive Fiat from the Attorney General of Anambra State to prosecute the charge when it was clear that the defense counsel, Barr. Ada Uyammadu, was frustrating the proceedings to delay the judgment,” Ugorji explained.

Continuing, he said: “Finally, on July 4, 2024, judgment was delivered, and the defendant, Rev. Ossy Molokwu, was found guilty. The defense counsel pleaded for leniency and asked the court to temper justice with mercy, noting that Rev. Ossy Molokwu was a first offender.

“The court, after hearing the plea, relied on restorative justice and gave him the option of a fine. He was to pay 1.2 million naira to the nominal complainant for wasting their time and for items removed from the site. He was ordered to be remanded in prison custody until he refunded the money.

“He was also ordered to refund the second buyer of my client’s land the 2.5 million naira he received for the resold land. He must restore the four plots of land to the nominal complainant. These conditions must be fulfilled before he is released from prison custody.”

“Rev. Ossy Molokwu, dressed in his priestly collar, was made to sit with those being taken to the correctional center at the left corner of the court. He pretended to go ease himself, but before anyone could react, he jumped into his car and sped off.

“However, on July 5, 2024, the court signed and issued a warrant of arrest ordering that Rev. Ossy Molokwu be arrested anywhere he is found and remanded in the Correctional Center, Onitsha,” Ugorji added.

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