Ten years after he was first arraigned before a federal judge over a multi-billion naira money laundering suit, a former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, will be re-arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.
The re-arraignment, earlier scheduled for Thursday, was moved to December 4 due to the absence of both the prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie, and Mr. Nnamani who was said to be out of the country.
Mr. Nnamani, who was governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007, is facing a 10-count charge of laundering N5.3 billion instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The former governor was first arraigned before Justice Abubakar Tijani in 2007 alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his aide; Rainbownet (Nig) Ltd; Hillgate (Nig) Ltd; Cosmo FM; Capital City Automobile (Nig) Ltd; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
On Thursday, M. Bamidele, a lawyer from Rickey Tafa Chambers announced appearance for Mr. Nnamani but said his client was out of the country.
Mr. Bamidele said they got wind of Thursday’s proceedings six days ago, adding that the time was too short to reach Mr. Nnamani overseas.
Mr. Uzozie also wrote to the judge seeking an adjournment.
The judge, while rejecting the defence counsel’s plea for a longer adjournment to enable them contact Mr. Nnamani, adjourned till December 4 for the re-arraignment of the former governor and his co-defendants.
According to the judge, having just been assigned the case which has lasted for ten years, he could not be seen to allowing further delays.
Mr. Obiozor is the fourth judge to handle the matter Messrs Abubakar, Charles Archibong (retired), and Mohammed Yunusa (suspended by the National Judicial Council over allegations of corruption).
Mr. Nnamani’s frequent travels abroad for medical treatment has also contributed to the delay of the case.
At the last sitting before Mr. Yunusa, on July 5, 2015, some of the defendants entered a plea bargain and forfeited their assets to the government.