EFCC docks two Catholic priests for fraud

 By Obinna Achi, Awka


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has dragged two prominent catholic priests to a Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra state capital for allegedly obtaining money by tricks (OBT).


The priests, Rev. Fr, Silas Nweke and Rev Fr. E.C Obiorah, were docked on Wednesday, while the case was adjourned by Hon. Justice Isah Gafai to 8th March, 2016.


The accused persons were dragged to court by the EFCC, following a 35 count charge in suit no FHC/Awka/75C/2012, which bothers on obtaining by tricks otherwise known in local parlance as (OBT).


The EFCC was led by its prosecution counsels, Joshua Saidi and Henry Anaso, while NH Osunkwo represented the first accused Rev. Nweke, while CJ Asiegbu represented the second accused, Rev. Obiorah.


Counsel to the 1st accused Osunkwo, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case, while also they had the issue of stay of proceedings in another court.


However, CJ Asiegbu, counsel to Rev. Obiorah the second accused person, told the court that his worry was that the state high court had before now, given a judgment on similar case involving Holy Family Group of companies.


The matter was between the federal government of Nigeria against the three accused persons Rev Fr. Silas Nweke, Rev Fr. E.C Obiorah and Holy Family Group of companies.


The two catholic priests among other charges, were accused of obtaining by false pretence huge sums of money from certain persons and issuing dude cheques to them, using the name of Holy family group of companies in a cement business some years ago.

The trail judge, Justice Isah Gafai, was careful in not granting the EFCC’s plea for arraignment, as he relied on the Supreme Court recent ruling involving the senate president on the code of conduct tribunal (CCT).


According to the judge, “because of the reasons I will tarry a while and that is the position I will take for now, I will give you people some days to prepare and file your addresses.”


However, he warned the catholic priests to always obey court orders by coming to court, adding that he never heard of the case since he came to Anambra until last month blaming it on his staff, lamenting that you don’t adjourn such cases “sine die”.

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