Obiano’s alleged fraud: I received N158.8m mysteriously into my account without contract, woman tells court


By Our correspondent

A former governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano is currently on trial, facing a 9-count charge of embezzlement and money laundering totaling N4 billion, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Two prosecution witnesses, Tochukwu Aloysius Nnadi and Mrs. Chinwe Patricia Ebunam, have testified in the trial of former Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, stating that N4billion security votes were diverted to private companies.


At the resumed trail on Tuesday, Nnadi, a bank manager in Awka, Anambra State, revealed that documents from his bank showed that funds from the state’s security votes account were transferred to various private entities, including Easy Diamond Integrated Links, C.I Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited, and Xpressive Consult Nig. Limited, among others, during Obiano’s tenure as governor.

These transactions were made under Obiano’s watch, suggesting potential misuse of public funds.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Sylvanus Tahir (SAN), the witness stated that the Anambra State Government under Obiano had several accounts with the bank that included: Statutory Revenue Account, Value Added Account, Consolidated Internal Generated Revenue Account, Security Votes Account and others.


According to him, “the mandate of the Security Votes Account was operated by the then Principal Secretary to the governor, Mr Willie Nwokoye and the Accountant at the government house, Theophilus Meize. The accounts are funded weekly from various accounts, especially from the Consolidated Internal Revenue account in which payments are usually made weekly based on the advice from the operators of the account to various entities, be it individual or corporate entities which I cannot mention here because the names are many but I recall that I made a statement in the Commission where I listed some of those names there.”


The witness, Tochukwu Aloysius Nnadi, testified that he provided various documents to the Commission, including statements of account, certified true copies, certificates of identification, and account opening packages. These documents, marked PW A1 to PW A794 and B1 to B432, were submitted as evidence by the prosecution counsel and accepted by the court.


Additionally, the second prosecution witness, Chinwe Patricia Ebunam, an Onitsha-based businesswoman, testified that she received a mysterious payment of N156,800,000 (One Hundred and Fifty-Six Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira) in 2022 from the Anambra State Government’s account, despite not having executed any contracts for the government. This payment was made without any clear justification or explanation.


According to her, “Sometime around 20th May 2022, I received a call from EFCC that they needed me in their office, regarding my company C.I Patty Ventures, about some money that passed through my account, which I told them I didn’t know anything about the money that passed through my account. All I knew was that I called my bank account officer, Ugochukwu Otibere to upgrade my account or post money into my account to enable me to pass the requirements of the embassy so that I can travel.


“He accepted and collected the details of the company’s account and cheque. He promised me that he will upgrade the account. I don’t know anything about the NI56,800 million that passed through my account from the Anambra State Government.”


The former Anambra Governor is currently on trial, facing a 9-count charge of embezzlement and money laundering totaling N4 billion, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Obiano is accused of diverting public funds to personal use, and the prosecution is presenting evidence to support the charges. The next court date is set for June 26, 2024.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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