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Former Anambra Gov. Obiano pleads not guilty to 9-court charge

Obiano

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, on a nine-count money laundering charge.

Obiano, who was arraigned on Wednesday, Jan. 24, before trial Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, pleaded not guilty after the charge was read to him.

He was subsequently allowed to go home based on the terms of an administrative bail the anti-graft agency earlier granted to him.

Terms of the conditions included the seizure of his international passport, even as he was warned not to travel outside the country without the permission of the court.

The court also directed the EFCC to forward details of those who stood as Obiano’s surety.

The case has been adjourned till March 4 for the commencement of his trial.

Recall that the former 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 a few hours after he left office as governor.

Some of the charges against him, 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 No: 5030050875 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Pic into the Fidelity Bank Ple 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.”

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