Gov’t Property Recovery Panel Grants Former Abia Chief of Staff, Agbazuere, Bail

The Abia State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the recovery of government property and funds, led by Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe (retd.), has granted bail to Prof ACB Agbazuere, the former Chief of Staff to the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

The bail was set at ₦500,000 with one surety in like sum.

This development follows a bench warrant issued by the panel to Prof Agbazuere on January 10, 2024, for his failure to appear and clarify issues regarding government vehicles in his possession.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe, announcing the panel’s decision on case file JPREC/270/2023, stipulated that the surety presented by Agbazuere must swear an affidavit of means and should be either a Permanent Secretary of Grade Level 17 or a serving Member of the State House of Assembly from Agbazuere’s Constituency. The panel adjourned the hearing on this matter until February 2nd, 2024.

In a separate inquiry, Sir Don Ubani was subpoenaed by the panel to vacate the bench warrant issued against the former Deputy Chief of Staff. This decision came after considering the applications of the panel’s counsel and the response from Ubani’s counsel.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe expressed the need for a more thorough investigation into whether the past administration’s Executive Council had made a decision to bequeath a Toyota Fortuner Jeep to Ubani. Despite Ubani’s testimony, the lack of solid evidence necessitated the need for additional witnesses.

“In the interim, Sir Don Ubani is to enter into an undertaking to preserve the Toyota Fortuner black Jeep with Chassis no; MHFDS8FS9L0104225 with Engine no 2TRA691618 and to produce the same whenever required to do so. The bench warrant issued on the witness on 10th January 2024 is hereby vacated,” stated Justice Duruoha-Igwe.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe emphasised that the panel’s mission is fact-finding, not witch-hunting, and assured that their decisions reflect a commitment to a fair and thorough investigation.

Prof ACB Agbazuere and Sir Don Ubani, in their submissions, expressed confidence in the panel’s integrity and assured their cooperation whenever required.

The panel also acknowledged the recovery of a Toyota Hummer bus from Dr. Philip Ntoh, the immediate past provost of the Abia State College of Education Technical, Arochukwu, and its return to the college. Additionally, the immediate past Head of Service, Sir Onyii Wamah, appeared before the panel regarding a Toyota Prado Jeep allegedly bequeathed to him by the previous administration.

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