Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday struck out the charge of N4.5 billion fraud brought against a former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Obiozor took the action after the counsel to the EFCC, Kelvin Uzozie told him that the anti-graft agency had decided to file a new charge with new number against Nnamani, and his former aide, Sunday Onyekazor Anyaogu.
Nnamani was first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar in 2007 and later re-arraigned before Justice Charles Archibong when Tijani Abubakar was elevated to court of appeal. He was later re-arraigned before Mohammed Yinusa when Justice Archibong was retired.
The former Governor was re -arraigned before Justice Yinusa, who had also retried from the bench, on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crime to the tune of N4.5 billion.The ex-governor was arraigned before the court alongside his ex-aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six firms linked to them.
They are: Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School. The alleged financial impropriety was alleged to have been committed while Nnamani held sway as governor of Enugu state between 1999 and 2007.
Nnamani, according to the charge, was alleged to have conspired with other accused persons to launder various statutory allocations of some local government areas of Enugu State. The local governments are: Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor. They had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge. But the companies later entered into a plea bargain arrangement with the EFCC and were therefore convicted by Justice Yinusa.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Uzozie told the court that upon looking at the fact of the case, the position of the EFCC is to file a new charge with new number, against the two accused persons.
Uzozie said the decision to file new charge with new number against the two accused persons was based on the judgment of Justice Mohammed Yunusa which was delivered of July 7, 2017, on charge number FHC/L/09C/07,
The prosecutor also told the court that as at today, there is no charge against Nnamani and his aide before the court, he consequently urged the court to strike out the entire proceedings before the court. Nnamani’s lawyer, Rickey Tafa, and lawyer to the second accused, Victor Obaro, did not opposed this prosecution’s application.
However, Nnamani’s lawyer, Tafa, said when the matter came up last time, they had filed an affidavit to the termination of the charge of FHC/L/09c/07, which he said had been conceded to by the prosecution.
Tafa also stated that in fairness to the prosecution, as at the time the matter was reassigned, ‘there was no case to be reassigned’, and that it not on any condition that the matter should strike out the cases.
But the prosecutor, Uzozie, said that his request to court was that the entire proceedings before the court be set aside, with the liberty to the prosecution to file a new charge. In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered that: “as the learned prosecutor has said, in effect, proceedings with this case will be exercise in futility.
“I shall order under the Act of this court, I shall expunge the entire proceedings before this court, as there was never a charge before this court. All proceedings before the court is hereby expunged and strike out”.
With the court order, it means that the bench warrant earlier issued by the court against the former Governor, Nnamani, has been discharged, and become null and void.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP Nigeria Newspapers. Contact: [email protected]
COVER STORIES9 hours ago
NASS Adopts 4th Version Of Electoral Amendment Bill
NEWS21 hours ago
Cash Transfer Programme Kicks Off In Abuja
NEWS9 hours ago
‘We ‘ll Not Allow Obaseki Suffer Ambode’s Political Ordeal’
NEWS10 hours ago
Proposed West African Science Academy Will Spur Regional Devt – Onu
NEWS12 hours ago
Russia Blames Israel For Shooting Down Plane
ENTERTAINMENT10 hours ago
Linda Ikeji Shows-off New Born Baby
COVER STORIES9 hours ago
Dariye Picks APC Nomination Form From Prison
FEATURES7 hours ago
2019: PDP Presidential Aspirants And The Rush For Babangida’s Endorsement