Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos orders ex-Gov Nnamani to forfeit assets to FG

Court orders ex-Gov Nnamani  to forfeit assets to FG

The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos yesterday, ordered the forfeiture of multi-billion naira assets allegedly belonging to a former Enugu State Governor, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa made the order after the four companies which are co-accused along with Nnamani had pleaded guilty to the on-going charge of money laundering levelled against them.
The forfeited assets are undeveloped properties and transmission equipment of Rainbownet Nigeria Limited; properties of Hill Gate Investment Limited/Cuena Phones Limited; assets of Cosmo 105.5FM, and 22 duplex buildings at Ebeano Estate (now Fidelity Estate).
Others are Rainbownet shares in Zenith Bank and Guarantee Trust Bank, with a combined account balance of N4.6million, as well as monies in its bank accounts.
The balances in different accounts with GTBank (total of N313,700); Sterling Bank (N986,958); Ecobank (N24.5million); First City Monument Bank (N3.8million) and Zenith Bank (N761,156).
EFCC said it is awaiting details of balances in Rainbownet’s 10 accounts with Access Bank.
The former governor, who is currently receiving treatment overseas by the order of the court, was charged along with his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms – Rainbownet, Hillgate Nigeria, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa later split Nnamani’s trial from his co-accused as he was abroad receiving treatment.
EFCC re-arraigned them on 105 counts of money laundering and economic crimes involving about N4.5billion state funds.
Part of the alleged laundered money was from the Excess Crude Oil Funds meant for some local government areas, including Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor, which was allegedly transferred to Nnamani’s bank account in the United States.
The crime was allegedly committed while Nnamani was governor between 1999 and 2007. The defendants pleaded not guilty.
However, after the trial was split, four of the companies on May 19 pleaded guilty to a 10-count amended charge through their counsel.
The companies are Rainbownet, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital.
They were alleged to have failed to comply with lawful inquiry made by the commission.
On June 11, Justice Yunusa adjourned to July 7 after EFCC’s lawyer Kelvin Uzozie told the court that he was still working to get a list of all the companies’ assets.
Yesterday, he prayed the court to convict the companies in view of their plea.
He also urged the court to make an order of the assets’ forfeiture, and for the commission to be involved in their management.
Justice Yunusa held: “It is hereby ordered that the properties listed in the schedule be forfeited to the Federal Government.”
He adjourned till November 12 for the trial of the remaining accused persons.

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