By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought charges of money laundering against Willie Obiano, the immediate past Governor of Anambra state. The former Governor appeared before Inyang Ekwo, a judge at the federal high court in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Obiano pleaded not guilty to the nine-count charge presented by the anti-graft agency. Subsequently, Sylvanus Tahir, the EFCC counsel, requested the court to remand Obiano in custody until the trial begins. Onyinyechi Ikpeazu, Obiano’s counsel, countered by seeking bail for his client.
In the ruling, Ekwo granted bail to the defendant on the administrative terms earlier set by the EFCC. The judge specified that Obiano’s international passport must be submitted to the court within 10 days. Additionally, he directed the court registrar to notify the immigration service about the passport when it is handed over.
The trial is scheduled to commence on March 4, 2024. This legal action stems from allegations made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra in September 2021. The APC had urged the EFCC to investigate the state’s finances, citing concerns about “monumental deception” and accusing Obiano of fraudulent use of the state’s security vote. The case is poised to shed light on the intricacies surrounding these allegations.