Abia State business man and Director of Upper Graceland Hotels Umuahia, Mr Nwaeze Francis Jele has denied insinuations that he is being instigated to incriminate Abia journalist, Obinna Don Norman, who is currently facing trial for cyber stalking and issuance of dud check at a high court. He said that the journalist who is still in police custody defrauded his hotel and refused all entreaties for amicable settlement of the issue.
Nwaeze said that the allegation by the journalist that the family of senator T.A Orji are the ones urging him to intimidate and indict Norman, who is having a long drawn battle with the Orji family is false because the former first family is not aware of the transaction between him (Nwaeze) and Norman in the first instance.
He said it is preposterous for the journalist to attempt to link his matter with him to the family of Orji whom he has never come in contact with since he started out as a business man, adding that he decided to petition the Police when every peaceful and friendly efforts he made to recover his money from Norman failed flat.
In a chat with News Critic online, the Abia hotelier narrated how he came into contact with Norman through Mr Kelechi Apugo in 2014 and how he started using his hotel facilities and accommodation.
He said ‘’I did my best to sort out the difference but he remained defiant and stubborn. He lodged in my hotel between June 2 to September 19, 2017 and at the end of his stay he issued me with a check of N650, 000 (Six hundred And Fifty Thousand Naira), to cover his bill. When I took the check to the bank it was returned’’, he explained.
According to Nwaeze, the cheque was issued on September 18, 2017 after which he disappeared and never returned to the hotel nor see the hotelier again. ‘’So, since that time he never came here, he only told me that period when I started disturbing him that he wants to secure a new Job with Dr Alex Otti, that he was a bit financially handicapped then to liquidate the debt.’’
Continuing, Nwaeze pointed out that he spoke with Norman last on September 2018 when political campaigns was about to kick start, and after which he went to his brother Tony Onyenweaku to report the matter. ‘’I was told by Tony that Norman usually come into town but preferred to lodge at another hotel in the city. I also reported to other friends like Ikenna Echerou, and Barr. Kelvin who promised to reach him on my behalf’’.
Speaking further, Nwaeze said that when he discovered that Norman is not willing to settle the matter peaceably with him, that he made the last effort when he learnt that he was been held at Afara prisons. ‘’I later found out that he had problem with the Orji family and was kept at Afara prisons, I decide to visit him there. I told him that I came to ask of my money and the cheque he issued which bounced, and he asked me how I got to know he was in prison. He said I should give him time that when he is released we will sort out the matter.
‘’And when he was released he did not bother to get back to me or call me as promised. This time I went to his lawyer, Kenneth Anyia, SAN, who fought for his release to report. The lawyer told me that Norman works with his principal, Otti, and immediately put a call across to him for us to discuss in a conference call. Norman’s response was that it was senator Orji that is owing me, that when Orji pays him, he will in turn pay me.
‘’So the SAN advised him that things are not done that way, then he retorted that he is not owing. He claimed that he doesn’t know how I got hold of his cheque. So the lawyer said in the event the matter goes to court, he will not defend either of us and I left. So I promised myself that Norman will not dupe me like that.
‘’What I did was to petition the Commissioner of Police through my lawyer with documents to back up my claims. Since nobody knows his whereabouts, we waited until we were sure he will be appearing in court to arrest him on his way home.
‘’He is alleging that Senator Orji is the one using me which is a big lie. I am not a politician, I have not met Orji before and I want him to come up with evidence that I am being backed by Orji against him. It is my money that I want and let the judiciary decide the case. He pushed me to the wall,’’ he concludes.