The EFCC‘s zonal office in Enugu State has arraigned a former commissioner for transport in Imo State, Lasberry Anyanwu, over alleged stealing and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N180 million.
In a statement signed by the EFCC spokesperson Thursday, Mr Anyanwu was charged on four-count charges, before Justice E.F Njemanze of the State High Court.
The EFCC said Mr Anyanwu is being prosecuted following a petition against him alleging that he transferred the ownership of the state’s transport company to his private company, Oma Oil/ Industries Ltd, while he was in office.
“Investigation by the EFCC showed that the defendant through an opaque concession agreement with the state government, transferred the administrative duties of the state’s transport company to his Oma Oil/Industries Ltd such that finances accruing to the state transport company were channelled to his company.
“It was further discovered that on January 13, 2017, the defendant diverted and transferred the sum of N80 million from Imo State Ministry of Transport to his Oma Oil/Industries Ltd and another N100 million to the same company between November 6 and 10 2017 from Imo State Transport Company account,” the EFCC statement said.
The EFCC said the accused who served during the Rochas Okorocha’s administration committed the crime in 2017.
The EFCC also accused Mr Anyanwu to using his office when he chaired the committee on review of Imo Transport Company, ”to confer the sum of N100 million, belonging to the Imo Transport Company in its Imo Microfinance Bank account with Polaris Bank to a different Polaris Bank account with No: 40906668828, belonging to Oma Oil & Industries Ltd, a company in which he is a shareholder/director/chairman/chief executive and signatory to its bank”.
The commission said his offence is contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
According to the statement, the accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The prosecution counsel, Victor Okereke, reportedly asked for a trial date and for the court to remand him in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Service, pending trial. Defence counsel, J.C. Ezem, however, applied for Mr Anyanwu’s bail.
Justice Njemanze admitted him to bail in the sum of N20 million, with two sureties, who must be residents in Owerri; swear an affidavit of means and deposit their passports with the court.
He adjourned the matter till January 21 and 28, 2021, and February 4 and 11, 2021.
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