N5bn Corruption Trial: Nnamani's Accomplices Plead Guilty
SAN FRANCISCO, May 19, (THEWILL) – Four companies: Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital, allegedly associated with the former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, Tuesday, pleaded guilty to a 10-count amended charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC at the Federal High Court, Lagos presided over by Justice Mohammed Yinusa.
The companies are alleged to have failed to comply with lawful inquiry made by the Commission.
At Tuesday’s sitting, counsel to the companies, Ricky Tarfa, SAN pleaded guilty to the 10-count charge when it was read to him. In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Kelvin Uzozie asked the court to fix a date for proof and review of facts and for sentencing.
Justice Yinusa consequently adjourned proceedings to May 27, 2015.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, between February and March 2007 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court failed to comply with the lawful inquiry of Ibrahim Lamorde, Director of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on behalf of the Commission on this opening statement of affairs of Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, from inception to February 2007 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 38(2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004.”
Another count reads: “That you Cosmos FM between February and March 2007 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court failed to comply with the lawful inquiry of Ibrahim Lamorde, Director of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes on behalf of the Commission on the audited account of Cosmos FM, for the periods ended 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 38 (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004.
The EFCC in 2014 sought for a separate trial of the companies which were previously arraigned alongside Nnamani in a N5 billion money laundering case in 2007.
EFCC counsel, Kelvin Uzozie told the court that the matter had been stalled severally on account of Nnamani’s frequent applications to travel abroad for medical treatment on grounds of ill-health.
Nnamani was first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar in 2007. The ex-governor was docked alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his then aide and six firms linked to them: Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Hillgate Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
The case was re-assigned to Justice Charles Archibong following the transfer of Justice Abubakar, now of the Appeal Court, out of the Lagos division of the federal high court.
Again, the case was re-assigned to Justice Yinusa, after Justice Archibong (now retired) was also transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.
According to the charge, Nnamani conspired with other accused persons to launder funds from the state treasury, especially monies meant for the local government areas of Enugu state.