Former governor of Enugu State Chimaroke Nnamani was yesterday re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Enugu High Court for allegedly stealing about N2.5 billion belonging to the state government.
Although the immediate past governor pleaded not guilty to the 15-count charge, the presiding judge, Justice Benedict Agbatah ordered that he (Nnamani) be remanded in EFCC custody .
Chimaraoke was charged alongside an Enugu-based contractor, Chief Jacob Nwatu and four companies.
The EFCC had claimed that the accused persons committed the offences between August 3, 2002 and November 1, 2002.
According to the EFCC , the accused persons within the said period, fraudulently obtained various sums which include N69,120,000, N150,300,000,N156,157,708,N139,255776,N189,255,776,N514533,66, N609,600,00 and N150,300,000.
The anti-graft body also alleged that the accused persons also fraudulently obtained N156,157,788, N139, 255, 776, N514,533,664 and N514, 533,664, adding that the sums were said to be meant for the construction of road projects in Enugu State but were not executed.
But the accused persons pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges, just as the companies charged along with them which included Jac Nigeria Enterprises Ltd, Jetman Nigeria Limited, Rainbownet Nigeria Ltd and Hillgate Nigeria Ltd also pleaded ‘not guilty’.
The judge had earlier adjourned hearing in the matter till May 31, following the failure of the EFCC to arraign the accused, but he later vacated the earlier order when Nnamani suddenly turned up at the court premises by 9.50am, accompanied by the EFCC officials.
Earlier before the adjournment of the case for hearing on June 1, the EFCC lawyer, K.C. Uzozie had prayed the court to give the trial accelerated hearing, suggesting that three days would be enough.
In his submission, the lawyer to the accused, Mr. Ricky Tarfa (SAN), pleaded with the court to order that his clients should not be remanded in prison custody, suggesting that they should remain in the custody of the EFCC till the next adjourned date.
Ruling on the application, Justice Agbatah adjourned the case till June 1 and ordered the ex-governor be remanded in EFCC custody.