In the highlight of the commission’s decision, which abstract was published by Thisday this morning, it was stated that the “Respondent claimed that $349,975 wired into her Attorney Trust Account on August 2005 came from (unspecified) personal injury cases and form attorney’s fees and reimbursed expenses in the Dr Ngige Election Tribunal Case(s) in Nigeria.” The documents of the long trial and investigation, outlined a vast array of infringements and “four year pattern of commingling funds which the Respondent claimed she used in paying for her personal expenses as intentional misappropriation.”
A rather shocking part of the revelation was an alleged disbursement of a staggering sum of $349,975 for bringing a homeless American to delay Ngige’s stay in office.
All this was said to have happened at the time the APC candidate was busy selling himself off as the messiah opposed to looting of the state’s treasury by the godfathers and that he was suffering persecution for his principled stand.
In a detailed rendering of the sleaze that Ngige allegedly orchestrated in office through his sister in the US, one of the documents obtained from the courts in Maryland, stated thus:
“Respondent produced only copies of deposit slips and customer receipts from 21 March 2003 through 7 June 2006, monthly bank statements from 1 August 2003 through 31 May 2006, and disbursed checks from 25 April 2003 through 22 May 2006 related to the trust account. Respondent never produced any requested billing statements, ledger cards, or accounting of funds that she received, maintained, and disbursed from her trust account during this period.
“Respondent claimed to have received several deposits, totaling $110,493, in her attorney trust account slated to be transferred to the Ngige campaign, but she failed to provide an accounting reflecting these deposits. The record shows that, on 29 August 2005, she deposited a $120,000 personal check for which Judge Dugan found she offered again no logical or coherent accounting.
“Respondent also transferred $50,000 into her attorney trust account in September 2005, funds which she claimed belonged to Ngige. From 2002 to 2006, Respondent disbursed from the account a total of $134,312.85 prior to making deposits necessary to fund those disbursements. When asked by Bar Counsel to explain several specific instances of this practice, Respondent replied to each inquiry that each premature disbursement was due to an “administrative glitch.”
A witness, Anthony Isama, testified that three suspect debits on Respondent’s trust account paid to American Express, totaling $7,820, and one check issued from the account to “MBNA,” for $35,600, were payments for credit card purchases Respondent made for Ngige’s wife. Meanwhile, a further $50,000 cash withdrawal Respondent made from her account on December 4, 2002 was never explained.
In addition, Respondent’s refusal even to identify forthrightly Christopher Ngige as her brother was evasive, at best. Respondent stated disingenuously that Ngige merely was “somebody’s name.”
Even though Ngige was not a client of the Respondents, she asserted an attorney-client privilege and refused to explain her relationship to him. When Isama testified that Ngige is Respondent’s brother, Judge Dugan asked Respondent why she had engaged in such “subterfuge.” Respondent kept mute. However, there are speculations that Ngige might be extradited to the US to answer questions arising from the case.
A source told elombah.com: “Ngige is guilty of money laundering but the court could not expressly say so because that was not the case before it – the suit had to do with professional misconduct by his sister but it is instructive that the court nevertheless indicted Ngige.”
“Where did Ngige get the millions he lodged in Ozoemena’s US account with which he contested the governorship election 2010? This is Anambra State’s money which he illegally made during his illegal occupation of the Government House from May 29, 2003 to March 17, 2006 before he was removed by the Supreme Court.”
Commenting on the issue, Africans In America, Inc., a leading human rights organisation addressing social issues concerning the larger African immigrant community in the United States, and a major columnits to elombah.com referred to Ngige as one of the “people that stole-silly Nigerian money.” The group while berating Ngige’s associates for launching a campaign of calumny against it on account of its reports on Ozoemena’s disbarment said on its website www.AfricansInAmericaInc.org:
“Shall we allow the same people that stole-silly Nigerian money to continue to harass, attempt to intimidate us in US, just as they do in Nigeria?
“Let the people of good-will speak-up against lots of crimes of satanic and wicked fellows taking place on Nigerian online forums and against fellow Nigerians in US.
“We at AIA say ‘tufiakwa’ and will resist this carry-over of Nigerian-style oppression into the United States.”
Efforts by elombah.com to respond to the latest development proved abortive as neither him nor his aides picked our calls.
Ngige, currently a Senator, placed a distant second with 60,240 votes against the 97,843 votes scored by Mr. Peter Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the February 6, 2010 governorship election. He is warming up to take another shot at the coveted seat later this year on the platform of the emergent All Progressives Congress (APC).