…Battles nephews in courts, EFCC.
This is not the best of times for the Igbo business mogul, Prince Arthur Eze. Hitherto, he had been proclaimed as one of the richest Igbo men but he is now struggling to get out of financial predicament.
For over a year now, he has been battling his brother’s children in courts as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, where he took them for alleged embezzlement.
Eze’s private jets are reportedly grounded currently as he has not been able to maintain them. It is also alleged that apart from making frantic efforts to put them up for sale, he’s currently looking for buyers for some of his choice landed properties in and outside Abuja.
Sources said the boss of Triax Airline who narrowly escaped death at the height of Covid-19 pandemic last year from an undisclosed ailment has been practically sustained by the goodwill of top Igbo leaders and politicians who are his close associates, including some of the five South East governors.
According to sources, Arthur Eze’s current economic woes allegedly began a few years back but worsened last year by global effects of Covid-19 on his businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. His current predicament was also attributed to bad business decisions.
For instance, one of the decisions which have hugely affected him is his frontal battle with his brother, Prince Onyeka Nnadozie Eze, and the sons of his late younger brother, Prince Olisaebuka Okwuchukwu Eze, who have been the engine-room of his business empire for decades. He has been having a running battle with them through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and some law enforcement agents in Abuja and Enugu State since late last year.
Olisaebuka Eze and Onyeka Eze, were arrested by officials of the EFCC on November 11, 2020 as a result of an application filed by Arthur’s lawyer, Chief Duro Adeleye, SAN, to the anti-graft body. They were in the EFCC custody for more than two months for alleged embezzlement.
But on Friday, December 11, 2020, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice S.B Belgore, ordered immediate release of the two men from EFCC custody.
Giving the Enrolment Order “In the matter of application for redress by the applicants for infringement of their fundamental human rights,” between Prince Olisa Eze and Onyeka Eze (the applicants) and EFCC and Prince Arthur Eze (Respondents), the Judge also ordered immediate unfreezing of all the Applicants’ bank accounts.
The order for their immediate release from EFCC custody and unfreezing of their accounts was based on the motion which was filed by Anthony O. Okpalah Esq. marked M12891/2020 and dated 9th December 2020, in the High Court, Apo, Abuja.
Based on the Motion, Justice Belgore ordered that the 1st applicant be admitted for bail in the sum of N10million and a Surety in the same amount. The Surety, according to the Order, must be a civil servant residing within the Federal Capital Territory.
Justice Belgore ruled that all the accounts of the Applicants hitherto frozen by the Commission should be unfrozen immediately. He then adjourned the case to December 16, 2020 for hearing of the Original Motion M/12894/20.
Not done with his nephews who were legally freed from EFCC detention in Abuja, an embittered Arthur Eze reportedly rechanneled his efforts at subduing them to Enugu using some elements in the State’s Command of the Nigeria Police. Peeved by the turn of events, Amarachi, wife of Prince Olisa Eze, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, pleading for protection for her family and that of Prince Onyeka Eze.
In her petition, Mrs. Eze alleged connivance between Arthur Eze and some police officers in Enugu. She accused the security agent of “impunity, brute use of power, abuse of office, criminal intimidation and conspiracy; acts capable of breaching/rupturing of public peace and unlawful cum criminal trespass on their private properties by the police officers.”
She claimed that her husband houses at No. 9a/9b S.G. Ugwuanyi Crescent, Phase 1 and No. 174 Ukpata Crescent Phase 1, Golf Estate Enugu were unlawfully invaded on 3rd and 11th of January 2021 by the hatchet policemen.
Also, her husband’s younger brother’s properties at No. 1 Victor Nwodo Close, GRA Enugu, No. 22 Uduma Street, New Haven, Enugu and No. 3, St. Felix Avenue, Trans Ekulu, Enugu respectively were not spared in the assault.
The latest persecution of his nephews is an alleged intimidation of two Arthur Eze’s account officers in an Enugu branch of a bank to implicate Olisa Eze on a $250,000 cheque earlier duly authorized by him (Arthur Eze) to be given by Olisa to his business partners in Equatorial Guinea before his ordeal in the hand of EFCC operatives in November last year. As alleged, because these bank officers refused Arthur Eze’s overtures to implicate his late brother’s son, they have been invited to EFCC headquarters in Abuja twice for interrogations.
Close associates of the embattled oil mogul said the most debilitating of his decisions was a gradual takeover of the running of his business empire by a “vulture” employee. The worker was alleged to have used diabolical means to “spiritually bottle up” Prince Arthur to take over his finances.
However, a source close to Arthur Eze’s children told this paper that although they have not been in good terms with their father, they have nonetheless begun moves to extricate him from the bondage as well as help him revive his dying business empire.
Will they succeed? Only time can tell.