Willie Obiano Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged ₦4bn Fraud, Granted Bail

Willie Obiano Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged ₦4bn Fraud, Granted Bail

In a legal development today, former Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, aged 68, has been arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja on nine counts of alleged ₦4bn fraud. The charges span his tenure from March 2014 to March 2022.

Obiano vehemently pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges, which come with the prosecution’s assertion of having 14 witnesses ready to testify against the former governor. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by counsel Sylvanus Tahir, sought to have Obiano remanded in the custody of the anti-graft agency.

However, Obiano is presently on administrative bail granted by the EFCC, a condition requiring two sureties, who must be directors in the civil service and possess landed properties in Abuja. Justice Ekwo endorsed the existing administrative bail, emphasizing that Obiano must stay within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and submit travel documents to the court for future travel.

Moreover, the court directed the immigration authorities to be alerted that all travel documents are under the court’s custody. This legal episode unfolded shortly after Obiano handed over power to Governor Chukwuma Soludo in March 2022, when the EFCC apprehended him at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammad International Airport. The arrest occurred as he attempted to leave the country for Houston, Texas, in the United States.

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