Former Anambra Governor Obiano Pleads Not Guilty to ₦4bn Fraud Charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has formally charged Willie Obiano, former Governor of Anambra State, with allegations of ₦4 billion fraud. The arraignment took place on January 24, 2024, before Justice Inyang Ekwo at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Obiano, who governed Anambra from March 2014 to March 2022, faces nine counts related to money laundering during his tenure. The 68-year-old pleaded not guilty to all charges. The EFCC, represented by counsel Sylvanus Tahir, has prepared 14 witnesses to testify against Obiano.

The prosecution initially requested Obiano’s remand in EFCC custody. However, the court decided to maintain the administrative bail previously granted by the EFCC. The bail conditions include two sureties who are directors in civil service and owners of landed properties in Abuja. Additionally, Obiano is required to stay within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and surrender his travel documents to the court. The court also instructed that the immigration service be informed that all travel documents are in its possession.

This case follows Obiano’s arrest by the EFCC at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, in March 2022, shortly after he handed over power to Governor Chukwuma Soludo. Obiano was en route to Houston, Texas, in the United States when apprehended. The EFCC had previously placed him on a watchlist and detained him for five days before granting bail, continuing their investigation into the ex-governor’s activities.

Obiano’s arraignment marks a significant development in the EFCC’s ongoing efforts to address corruption and financial impropriety in Nigeria’s political sphere. With this high-profile case underway, attention now turns to the unfolding legal proceedings and the potential implications for governance and accountability in the country.

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