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HomeNews₦4bn fraud: Anambra govt opposes Obiano’s trial by EFCC

₦4bn fraud: Anambra govt opposes Obiano’s trial by EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s trial of the state’s most recent governor, Willie Obiano, has drawn opposition from the Anambra State Government.


Obiano was arraigned by the EFCC on January 24 on nine charges related to ₦4 billion embezzlement.


The EFCC charged Obiano with misappropriating ₦4,008,573,350 in security votes from Anambra State during his tenure as governor from 2014 to 2022.


After the ex-governor was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Inyang Ekwo limited the ex-governor’s movement inside Abuja but permitted him to remain on the administrative bail that the EFCC had granted him.


The EFCC was instructed by Justice Ekwo to place Obiano’s travel documentation with the court registrar.


Chukwuma Soludo, the current governor of Anambra State, paid Obiano in Abuja one day following the arraignment.


“Today, in the company of the APGA National Chairman, Ezeokenwa Sly Jr., I paid a solidarity visit to my respected predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano, in Abuja,” Soludo posted on his Facebook page.


“The two-hour chat was valuable time well spent. By His grace, this one too shall pass.”


The state government filed an appeal on March 3 to contest the EFCC’s jurisdiction to look into and prosecute Obiano, which the SAN notified the court about.


“The topic of the charge bothers on accountability for security votes funds,” stated Ikpeazu.


The honorable court does not have the necessary authority to consider matters pertaining to accountability for funds allocated to security votes.


The Anambra State Government has filed an appeal contesting the EFCC’s authority to look into the Anambra State Government’s security vote.

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Ikepazu added that no witness had testified that Obiano had given instructions for the distribution of security votes or any other money that belonged to the state of Anambra.


“There is no evidence from any witness that the defendant/applicant gave instructions on the distribution of security votes and other funds that belong to the government of Anambra State,” he said.


In the meantime, Obiano’s attorney was unable to reply to a counter-affidavit that the prosecution had submitted, causing the N4 billion theft trial to be postponed for a second time on Thursday.


The case had been delayed due to Obiano’s motion contesting the court’s territorial authority to hear the matter, even though it was first scheduled for hearing on March 5.


The motion was then postponed until Thursday by Justice Ekwo.


The EFCC prosecutor, Sylvanus Tahir (SAN), however, informed the court during the resumption of proceedings on Thursday that he had initially had trouble serving the processes on Obiano’s main attorney, Ikpeazu, whose office he said was locked when he visited.


After calling another attorney in Ikpeazu’s chambers, the prosecution’s counsel informed the court that he had learned that his principle was attending a Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.


But he claimed he could serve the defendant with the written address as well as the counter-affidavit.


During the resumption of proceedings on Thursday, however, EFCC prosecutor Sylvanus Tahir (SAN) told the court that he had first encountered difficulties serving the processes on Obiano’s primary attorney, Ikpeazu, claiming that his office was locked when he visited.


The prosecution’s counsel told the court that he had discovered that his principle was present at a Governorship Election Petition Tribunal after phoning another lawyer in Ikpeazu’s chambers.


However, he asserted that he could serve the counter-affidavit and the written address to the defendant.



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