A Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, yesterday, remanded a popular actress, Chioma Toplis at the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Afara for alleged cybercrime.
The 48-year-old was accused of using her Facebook page to post “a malicious publication” against the Chairman of Abia State Traditional Prime Ministers Council, High Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu popularly known as BAWAS.
According to the charge sheet marked 124c/2022 and signed by SE Onyemauche, a Chief Superintendent of Police, the accused used her Facebook page to tag Akwukwuegbu as ” a rapist and a ritualist”.
In a one-count charge entitled:”Inspector General of Police vs Chioma Toplis ‘f’ aged 48″, the accused committed the alleged offence between May 28, and 31, 2021.
The charge read:”That you Chioma Toplis ‘f’ between the 28th and 31st of May, 2021, while residing in Nigeria, and being a social network user, and being under the Umuahia North Magisterial District and knowingly and maliciously published in your Facebook page “CHIOMA TOPLIS” the following: “Ur rapist father invited his daughter-in-law (now Ex) to Nigeria without his son’s consent and slept with her”.
” You equally called him a ritualist who used his last daughter as the sacrificial lamb of the family, hence she is perpetually sick and hidden in the house. A publication which you know to be false and intended to cause annoyance, inconveniences, danger, obstruction, enmity, hatred, ill-will or needless anxiety to the person of Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu, the Chairman of Abia State Traditional Prime Ministers Council, a renowned Community Leader and business mogul, and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 24(b)of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015, as applicable in Abia State.
After reading the count charge, there was no plea for bail, and the trial Chief Magistrate, Idika Kalu, ordered that the accused be remanded at the Afara Correctional Centre.
The matter was adjourned till April 14.
Later in an interview, Chief Akwukwuegbu who identified the accused as his sister-in-law expressed grief that she resorted to blackmailing him “for who knows what”.
The business mogul who claimed innocence of all the allegations said he was still at a loss why the accused would resort to cheap blackmail to disrepute him, insisting that she has to substantiate her claims.
He alleged that the accused had boasted that “she is highly connected and untouchable after rubbishing me on her Facebook page but she has to prove it at the court”.