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Published On: Wed, Apr 30th, 2014

Bala vs. Mamu: Court adjourns hearing till May 19th

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By Stanley Onyekwere

An Abuja Magistrates court has adjourned the hearing on the alleged attempt to extort the sum of N15m from the Minister of the Federal capital Territory (FCT) Senator Bala Mohammed, by the Publisher of the Desert Herald, Tukur Mamu.

The presiding Magistrate, Chukwuemeka Ubani, during a cross examination of the Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, by both prosecutor and defence attorney, however adjourned the matter to 19th of May, 2014 for further hearing from another witness.

At the witness box, Ogbuenyi, narrated how Tukur Mamu allegedly demanded the sum of N15 million to stop further publications on alleged scam in the FCT Administration.

Ogbuenyi also told the court how Mamu sent two text messages to him in May 2013 demanding N15 million bribe to withdraw the damaging reports in the Desert Herald magazine as well as a proposed book he claimed to be writing with a title; “FCT Administration: The Rot within”.

The second message, Ogbuenyi told the court, was the account number with the First Bank of Nigeria Plc sent by Mamu for the payment of the bribe money.

He said that the accused claimed to be in the process of writing the last chapter of a 284-page book maligning the image of the FCT minister and some other senior officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

The minister’s aide also told the court that he was directed by his boss to play along in the conversion with Mamu, publisher of the Kaduna based magazine, before the police intervened and arrested him. During the cross examination, Manu was represented by his lawyer, Barrister Abdul while the FCT Minister was represented by a lawyer from the chambers of Chief Joe Gadžama led by Barrister Sylvester Akingbade who observed the session as the police prosecution team led by Stanley Nwodo cross-examined the witness.

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