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Alleged 4bn Fraud: EFCC to arraign ex-Anambra governor, Willie Obiano, on Wednesday

Ex-Anambra governor, Willie Obiano
Ex-Anambra governor, Willie Obiano

Barring a last-minute change of plan, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on Wednesday, January 24, arraign the immediate-past governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, over alleged money laundering to the tune of N4,008,573,350.

Leadership reports that the anti-graft agency says the ex-governor will be arraigned on nine count charges. Obiano is alleged to have moved N4,008,573,350 from security votes into different accounts and that the money at various times was changed into dollars and returned to Obiano by cash.

EFCC lead counsel, Slyvanus Tahir, SAN, will lead eight other lawyers in the trial of the former governor.

Some of the charges include:

“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 No: 5030050875 domiciled in Account No: 6060018819 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 Account No: 5030050875 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc into the Fidelity Bank Plc Account No: 5600062873 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.”

Recall that the ex-governor was first arrested at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, on March 17, 2022, as he was preparing to board a flight to Houston, the United States of America. The arrest took place at about 8.30pm, hours after he left office as governor and, thus, lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution.

He had been on the EFCC’s watchlist for some time before he was eventually arrested over corruption allegations.

“Obiano was arrested for alleged misappropriation of public funds, including, N5 billion Sure-P and N37 billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash. Part of the funds was also allegedly diverted to finance political activities in the state,” EFCC had said then.

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