Home News High Court grants bail To Ex-Anambra Governor, Obiano, confine to Court jurisdiction

High Court grants bail To Ex-Anambra Governor, Obiano, confine to Court jurisdiction

by Maryam Olaniyi
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180229 Gov. Willie Obiano Shoot 0057

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the immediate past governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who is on trial on ₦4bn money laundering charges proffered against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Upon arraignment on Wednesday,Sylvanus Tahir, EFCC counsel, prayed the court to remand the defendant in custody pending the commencement of trial.

But Onyinyechi Ikpeazu, Obiano’s counsel, asked the court to grant bail to his client.

Ruling on the applications, Ekwo held that the defendant should enjoy bail on the administrative terms granted earlier by the EFCC.

The court ordered that Obiano should be confined to the court jurisdiction and directed the EFCC to deposit the defendant’s travel documents with the court registrar.

The registrar is also instructed to notify the Nigerian Immigration Service about this development.

It was reported that at his arraignment Obiano pleaded not guilty to the nine charges of money laundering brought against him by the EFCC.

According to the charge, Obiano was said to have allegedly laundered the sum of N4,008,573,350.

He was said to have moved the amount from security votes into different bank accounts.

The offences were said to have been committed between March 2014 and March 2022 when he was governor of Anambra State.

When the charges were read to him, the former governor pleaded not guilty to all the nine counts.

Some of the counts read, “That you, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, whilst being the executive governor of Anambra State of Nigeria between March 2014 – March 2022, sometime between 7th February, 2018 to 18th February, 2019 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, indirectly transferred through Mr Willie Nwokoye, your then principal private secretary, the sum of N156,800.00 only from the Anambra State Government Security Vote Account into an belonging to C.I. Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited (an entity that had no business relationship with the Anambra State Government), which funds were dissipated for purposes unrelated / unconnected with the security affairs of Anambra State, which you reasonably ought to have known that such funds formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful act, to wit: (Stealing and Corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

“That you, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, whilst being the executive governor of Anambra State of Nigeria between March 2014 — March 2022, sometime between 9th August, 2017 to 4th March, 2020 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, indirectly transferred through Mr Willie Nwokoye, your then principal private secretary, the sum of N261,268,585.00 only from the Anambra State Government Security Vote to another country belonging to Easy Diamond Integrated Link (an entity that had no business relationship with the Anambra State Government), which funds were dissipated for purposes unrelated / unconnected with the security affairs of Anambra State, which you reasonably ought to have known that such funds formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful act, to wit: (Stealing and Corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter to March 4, 2024.

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