Alleged Embezzlement, Forgery: Umulewe-Ideato South Monarch Concedes ThroneTo Elder Brother …Okwara: it’s in line with peace process

As part of the terms for a peaceful, out-of-court settlement in the matter between the Commissioner of Police versus Eze Paulinus Duru of Umulewe Autonomous Community, Ideato South Local Government Area, and two others, the traditional ruler on Easter Sunday, addressed the community where he declared that he has voluntarily stepped down as Eze, to enable his elder brother ascend the throne.
Speaking on the development, an indigene of the community, Chief Ebere Okwara hinted newsmen that he is the complainant in an ongoing matter in court involving the traditional ruler and two others, Edwin Okejiaku and Evaristus Ekpo, as defendants, over alleged embezzlement of Umulewe community funds and forgery. Chief Okwara further hinted that the counsel to the defendants, Barr Akwari applied for the matter to be transferred from to the Dikenafai Magistrate Court to Ogboko Magistrate Court in the same Ideato South, on grounds that they (the defendants) were uncomfortable with the Dikenafai Magistrate Court.
Okwara said after about six months, the matter was consequently transferred to Ogboko Magistrate Court, adding that the move was suspected to be an allegedly ploy to delay the matter.
Speaking further, he disclosed that they had to apply to the Registrar of Magistrate Court to transfer the matter to any other court since according to him, the Ogboko Magistrate Court was allegedly almost not functional. He said that the matter was eventually transferred to Amakohia Magistrate Court.
Okwara further disclosed that the counsel to Eze Duru and the two other defendants, allegedly wrote to the Attorney General of Imo State, Barr Akaolisa for an alleged possible discontinuation of the matter, but added that the attorney general was disposed to allowing the matter to continue. He said the attorney general must have found out that the charges against the defendants were criminal-related.
Chief Okwara revealed that the defendants again approached the Eze Imo, Eze Okeke for intervention. He said Eze Okeke set up a committee to look into the Umulewe issue. Okwara said he and some community leaders appeared before the committee, and that the. Eze Imo committee was shocked to hear that the matter in court was not about ezeship tussle, but over alleged sale of community land, embezzlement and forgery.
Okwara narrated that while waiting for the next adjournment in court, after the Eze Imo committee had assured that it would look into the matter, Eze Duru approached Barr Eze Duruiheoma, SAN, to mediate in the matter for an out-of-court settlement. He noted that he with some community leaders met with Barr Duruiheoma, SAN, and the defendants, at the instance of the legal luminary on three or four occasions, where Eze Paulinus Duru voluntarily agreed to step down as the Eze of Umulewe Autonomous Community and concede the throne to Prince Okwudili Duru.
On the issue of alleged embezzlement and forgery, Chief Okwara disclosed that it was agreed that the parties should go back to the village and amicably resolve them.
He stated that the peace process as agreed upon, started two days ago ( on Sunday, March 31), where he said, Eze Paulinus Duru summoned the entire Umulewe community and declared that he has conceded the ezeship to his brother, Prince Okwudili Duru, in keeping with the terms of the out-of-court settlement.
Okwara said the President General of Umulewe Autonomous Community, Chief Greggory Okwara, Chief Amasike Emelonye (Kpakpando), other leaders and the entire community were present when Eze Paulinus Duru made the announcement last Sunday.
He said if the terms of the peace process or out-of-court settlement were concluded before April 18, they would unanimously withdraw the matter from the court, adding “except Eze Paulinus Duru fails to fulfill his own part of the agreement.”

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