The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has opposed an application filed by former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, seeking to travel for urgent medical treatment in the United States of America.
Former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani
Mr Nnamani is being tried before a Federal High Court in Lagos alongside others for allegedly defrauding his state to the tune of N4.5 billion.
The ex-governor had filed the application through his lawyer, Ricky Tarfa, stating he needed to urgently travel to the US to attend to his health.
The application was supported by an affidavit deposed to by one Ayo Ambali, who stated that sometime in 2008, Mr Nnamani was diagnosed of having ‘hypercloclesterolemnia and a high level serum Prostrate Surface Antigem (SPA) for which he went to the United States of America severally for medical treatment.’
The deponent added that after carrying out series of examinations and tests on Mr Nnamani, his personal physician advised that he come to the United States for compulsory intermittent medical check-ups and treatments.
But the EFCC, in its counter-affidavit, dismissed the application as an attempt to further delay the matter, stressing that the ailment for which Mr Nnamani seeks to travel abroad could be treated in Nigeria.
According to the counter-affidavit deposed to by Ahamefula Ken Mbaeri, the anti-graft agency said the former governor was also standing trial before an Enugu State High Court, and that granting the application would jeopardize the case, which is to come up on 29 April 2013.
The Commission, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application.
When the case came up on Monday, Mr Tarfa moved the application on behalf of the former governor, while the EFCC’s lawyer, Kelvin Uzozie is to adopt his counter-affidavit on Tuesday.
According to the matter, Mr Nnamani, who was first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar, was re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Yinusa on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crimes.
The ex-governor was docked alongside his ex-aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms linked to them.
They are: Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
The financial impropriety was allegedly committed while Mr Nnamani was governor between 1999 and 2007.
Mr Nnamani also represented his Senatorial Constituency at the Senate after he served as governor, but lost when he contested again in 2011.
The case was re-assigned to Justice Charles Archibong following the transfer of Justice Abubakar, now of the Appeal Court, out of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court.
Again, the case was re-assigned to the current judge (Justice Yinusa) after Justice Archibong (now retired) was also transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.
Mr Nnamani, according to the charge, was said to have conspired with other accused persons to launder various statutory allocations of some local government areas of Enugu State.
The local governments are: Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor
Count nine of the charge sheet states that Mr Nnamani allegedly stole N1.4 billion from the Excess Crude Oil Funds allocated to local governments in the state.
Besides, the former governor, through the help of one Chinero Nwigwe, now at large, fraudulently transferred millions of dollars of Enugu State funds to his personal accounts in the United States of America.
One of the counts reads, “That you Chimaroke Nnamani, Sunday Onyeakazuru Anyaogu, Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School, sometime in March 2007, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did transfer $1, 556, 994.02 ($1.5m) to the foreign account in the United States of America (in which Chimaroke Nnamani and Chinero Nwigwe are sole signatories to the account) which sum you knew represented the proceeds of crime with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said crime and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14 (1) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.”