BREAKING: Court grants Obiano bail after pleading not guilty to money laundering chagres

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By Kamsi Anayo

Chief Willie Obiano, the former governor of Anambra state, has been granted bail by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja after pleading not guilty to the nine charges of money laundering slammed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The alleged money laundering is to the tune of N4,008,573,350.

Obiano reportedly moved the amount from security votes into different accounts. The offences according to EFCC were committed between March 2014 and March 2022.

Meanwhile, when the charges were read to him upon his arraignment on Wednesday, 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.”

However, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered that the former governor should be restricted to the court jurisdiction.

He ordered the anti-graft agency to deposit the defendant’s travel documents with the court registrar.

Ekwo then ordered the registrar to notify the Nigerian Immigration Service of the development.

The prosecution counsel, Slyvanus Tahir, SAN, had prayed the court to remand the former governor.

He subsequently adjourned the case till March 4,5,6 and 7 for continuation of trial.

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