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N4b fraud: EFCC to arraign Willie Obiano tomorrow

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign Mr Willie Obiano, the former governor of Anambra State, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, January 24.

He will face nine count charges related to the misappropriation of public funds.

The charges include claims that Obiano moved N4,008,573,350 from security votes into different accounts. The funds were allegedly changed into dollars at various times and returned to Obiano in 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 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.”

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 8.30 pm, hours after he left office as governor and, thus, lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution.

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

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