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I Was Arrested Because I didn’t Give Bribe, Man Indicts NCC Officials

Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

A Nigerian film and music dealer, Mr. Agustine Ameachi,on Thursday opened a can of worms as he told a Federal High Court, sitting in Enugu that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) docked him because he refused to give them N30,000 (thirty thousand naira) bribe.

images (5)Amaechi, who deals on the items at Okpara Avenue, Enugu, is currently standing trial before the court presided over by Justice Dorothy Agishi for allegedly breaching copyright laws.

Testifying before the court as part of his defence, the accused, told the court that the commission swooped on his shop sometime in 2011, impounded his goods and arrested his sale’s girl.

He said “I had gone to Lagos for a business trip when the incident happened; my sale’s girl called me on phone and said the Copyright Commission in Enugu has arrested her. Ameachi said.

“When I came back, I went there the following day, by that time, my elder brother has secured the bail of my sale’s girl.

“I asked them to tell me the offence I committed by showing me any of the films that is a pirated copy.

“I equally told them that I have an authorization from the National Film and Video Censors’ Board; I equally told them that I buy the films at an open market in Onitsha, but they didn’t want to hear any of these”.

“instead, the commission’s staff told me to give them N30,000. I told them that I don’t have money, that I bought those films genuinely and as such I won’t re-buy them”.

He stated that at that point, the officials got annoyed and asked him to come back after one week.

He added that “when I returned at the expiration of one week, I demanded for my goods again; they still refused and took me to my house for a search; they ransacked the entire place but found nothing.

“I pleaded with them to release the goods since they have not found anything incriminating; I even volunteered to take them to the place I bought the films, but they refused, insisting that I should give them N30,000”.

“One of my colleagues who was also arrested paid the N30,000 and his goods were released to him; if I had parted with the money, they wouldn’t have brought me here”, he further told the court.

The accused equally denied writing a document earlier tendered by the prosecution as his statement.

The matter was later  adjourned to May 27, 2014 for further  hearing.

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