Law News
N5bn fraud: Nnamani’s co-accused persons lose assets to FG

The various assets of four of the six companies charged with money laundering along with a former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, were on Tuesday forfeited to the Federal Government.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court in Lagos pronounced the companies’ assets and all the funds standing to their credit in various banks forfeited to the Federal Government after they had been convicted for the offence levelled against them.

According to the schedule of the companies’ properties filed before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the companies have landed properties, shares and equipment jointly numbering about 81 and scattered across various locations in Enugu, Abakaliki, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha and Umuahia.

While the assets were said to be worth over N5bn, the amount standing to the companies’ credit in 64 bank accounts was estimated at N34.8m.

The four companies whose assets were forfeited to the Federal Government are Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; Cosmos FM; Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, all in Enugu; and Rainbownet Nigeria Limited.

The companies had on May 19, 2015 been re-arraigned on an amended 10-count for the various roles they played in the alleged crime committed by Nnamani.

The EFCC had opted to try them separately from Nnamani and three others, saying it needed to fast-track their trial so as to prevent their assets from “being eroded.”

The EFCC, in the amended 10-count filed against the companies, accused them among other things, of failing to comply with a lawful enquiry by Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, who was then the EFCC’s Director of Operations.

Lamorde, it was said, had ordered investigation into the complicity of the four companies in the offences levelled against Nnamani.

The companies had, however, allegedly refused to release their cash books, fixed assets, various vouchers and cheques to the EFCC operatives for investigation.

They were also accused of failure to give the breakdown of their trade creditors and to show the names of their creditors and amounts from between 2002 and 2006.

The offences, according to the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Kelvin Uzozie, were punishable under section 38(2) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

Upon reading the 10-count to the four companies on May 19, their counsel, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), pleaded guilty on their behalf.

At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, Uzozie, while reviewing the facts of the case, tendered various exhibits, including the schedule of the companies’ assets, which the court accordingly admitted in evidence against the accused companies.

The prosecutor thereafter urged the court to “in view of their guilty plea and all the exhibits tendered before the court, convict the companies in line with Section 20(b) of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004 and to make an order forfeiting their properties.”

The trial judge, Yunusa, accordingly convicted the companies.

Though Uzozie prayed the court to pronounce the assets of the companies forfeited to the government of Enugu State and to allow the EFCC to be involved in their management, Yunusa, however, pronounced the assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge held, “The properties listed in the schedule are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in line with the EFCC Act.”

Yunusa subsequently adjourned the trial of the remaining accused persons till November 12, 2015.

They are Nnamani; his erstwhile aide, Sunday Anyaogu; Hillgate Nigeria Limited; and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.


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