Ebonyi Deputy Governor In House Rent Scandal

Source: pointblanknews.com

Says “I enjoy immunity, so court can't eject or force me to pay rent”

Ebonyi State deputy governor, Mr. David Nweze Umahi is in court with his landlord for failing to pay his house rent for four years.

Umahi's landlord, Nes Dynamic Oil Services, is claiming N20 million as the rent the deputy governor reportedly refused to pay for a duplex in highbrow Maitama district of Abuja.

The property is located on 16, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) quarters, Maitama.

Umahi is seeking to become governor of the state, and is ridding piggy-back on the duo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and former Governor Sam Egwu.

Umahi told a High Court sitting in Abuja that as a sitting deputy governor, he is covered by immunity and therefore cannot be compelled by the court- or any other- to pay the debt.

The court was presided over by Justice Baba Yusuf.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that as state chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State, Umahi, in August 2008, approached one Mike Mbanefo, a director in Nes Dynamic Oil Services

to rent the company's duplex.
Umahi, according to the tenancy documents obtained by Pointblanknews.com, paid Nes Oil Services N10 million for a period of two years.

However, about the time Umahi's tenancy lapsed, Governor Martin Elechi had nominated him deputy governor of Ebonyi State.

According to court documents, after Umahi's tenancy lapsed in August 2010, he became evasive, refusing to entertain telephone calls from his landlords.

“Having become deputy governor of Ebonyi State, it was obvious he no longer needed the property. However, out of sheer mischief and wickedness, Umahi locked it up, refusing to renew the rent or handing over the keys,” said a court official.

Two clear years after Umahi's rent lapsed, Nes Oil Services, in October 2012, applied to a magistrate court sitting in Wuse to recover the property.

In a copy of the Form E served Umahi, the court ordered the deputy governor to quit or deliver the five-bedroom duplex and three boys' quarters” on the 31st October 2012.”

In a copy of the order of service on Umahi, the court bailiff, one John F. Mamman served on the deputy governor a notice of intention to recover the property.

According to the notice, “On the 23rd day of October 2012, at 9.17am O'clock (sic) I served upon Engr. David Umahi Nweze a notice to tenant of owner's intention to apply to recover possession dated 22/10/2012.”

The bailiff said he “personally served Engr. David Umahi Nweze by pasting the notice on the wall at No. 16 NPA qtrs, Maitama.”

Pointblanknews.com gathered that deputy governor Umahi, who had boasted to business associates of Nes Dynasty Oil Services to teach “the stupid landlords a lesson of their lives.” refused to vacate the property after October 31, 2012.

According to court records, after failing to recover the property, Nes Dynasty Oil Services approached a High Court to help recover the property.

Umahi's lawyer, one Joseph Ekumankama told the court that, as a sitting deputy governor, Umahi enjoy's immunity from prosecution. He argued that no court can eject a serving deputy governor.

The court ruled in Umahi's favour.
Pointblanknews.com that the deputy governor continued to keep the property under lock and key until August 2014, when he returned the keys through a third party.

“Even at that, so much happened in the four years, including the attempt by serial fraudster-lawyer Nnodu Okeke, to fraudulently sell off the house,” offered a court officer.

A former commissioner in the state told Pointblanknews.com that the deputy governor has a problem paying for goods and services rendered.

“I am not surprised. Dave has that problem. He is always reluctant to pay up for goods and services. Workers in his construction company, Brass Construction Company, often complain of his reluctance to pay workers and suppliers.

“He rents plant and refuses to pay. Cement, steel rods, you name it, he fails to pay. This may be his greatest challenge in the very unlikely event he becomes governor,” claimed the former commissioner.

Sources close to Nes Dynasty Oil Services Limited told Pointblanknews.com that the legal tussle has taken a heavy toll on the company and strained the relationship between it's chairman, Chief Ernest Elochukwu and Mbanefo.

“Chairman believes Michael Mbanefo, for some reasons, was and is still shielding the deputy governor,” offered a top official of the company, adding, ' and this has led to a crisis of confidence.”

Neither Elochukwu nor Mbanefo agreed to speak on the matter.

Contacted, deputy governor Umahi told Pointblanknews.com that there was nothing unusual about the deal, saying disagreements in business transactions were normal.

“I am not the first and surely won't be the last to be owing. Nigeria is owing. Ebonyi is owning. I am owing and so is everybody. Nobody should therefore make it appear as if I've committed a grave offence,” chuckled the deputy governor.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.

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