7 SUSPECTS ARRAIGNED FOR ILLEGAL TOLL COLLECTION
By Chukwuka Ugokwe/Ifunanya Ajukwu :
Onitsha, Jan. 17, 2020 (MOI) No fewer than seven suspects have been arraigned for their involvement in illegal toll collection at various locations in Onitsha and environs.
The seven accused persons were apprehended on Jan. 13 by a combined team of law enforcement agents operating with the State Ministry of Transport Anti Touting Squad.
Presiding Magistrate, Anambra State Revenue Mobile Court sitting at the Central Park terminal, Onitsha, after preliminary hearing on the matter granted bail to six of the suspects while one of them, Mike Chigbo was remanded in prison custody pending ruling on application for bail brought before it by his counsel.
The Court said the defendants were granted bail in the sum of N50, 000 on provision of a surety each.
It added that sureties to the defendants, Afamefuna Onyia, Abuchi Ogbu, Chinonso Okparajiaku and others must tender two passport photographs and evidence of identification approved by Federal Government.
In the case of Chigbo, the court refused to grant him bail as prosecution counsel said that doing so could jeopardise his case and pleaded that police be given more time to conclude their investigations.
It, therefore, adjourned hearing on matter of the six defendants and ruling on the application for bail brought by Chigbo's Counsel, Mr Chiagozie Amaghalu.
While the case of Chigbo would be heard on Jan 28, the others granted bail would be entertained on Feb. 4.
Earlier, Mr Hippolite Ekwegbalu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Community Liaison, told newsmen that Chigbo was apprehended at Onitsha South Mass Transit Park at Upper Iweka.
He alleged that the suspect was caught issuing fake interstate tickets, licences, stickers and emblems to the management of Onitsha South Mass Transit of which he must have amassed about N4 million.
Commenting on the development, State Commissioner for Transport, Dr Christian Madubuko, described activities of touts in the state as worrisome, adding that government was battle ready to sustain the fight.
According to him, illegal toll collectors and touts have been disturbing the peace of innocent citizens and depriving government of its revenue.
He emphasized the determination of the state government to stamp out all forms of extortions, adding that Gov. Willie Obiano must be assisted to beef up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for development purposes.
As at the time of filing this report, 12 more suspects were nabbed. These include Onyeka Mmadumenye, Tochukwu Umolu, Ejike Igwube and Kenneth Chimezie at various locations in Obosi for touting and issuing illegal tickets.
The commissioner, then, told newsmen that the suspects
would soon appear before the State Mobile Revenue Court sitting in Onitsha for