Money Laundering: Court Orders Companies Linked With Ex-Gov. Nnamani To Forfeit Properties To FG

Nnamani-to-courtA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 convicted four companies linked to former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani.

The four companies are Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital.

The companies, which were alleged to have failed to comply with lawful inquiry made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on May 19, 2015 pleaded guilty to a 10-count amended charge proffered against them by the Commission.

According to a statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, at today’s sitting, counsel to the EFCC Kelvin Uzozie, prayed the court to make an order of final forfeiture of the companies based on their plea.

The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Yinusa, after reviewing the facts presented before him, convicted the companies and made an order of final forfeiture of their assets to the Federal Government, citing provision of the EFCC Establishment Act on Final Forfeiture.

The properties, according to the statement, are located across the five states in the South East geopolitical zone.

Among them are 22 Duplex buildings in Ebeano Under Tunnel Estate now known as Fidelity Estate; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; Cosmos 105.5 FM Digital Station (Ceuna Communications); and Capital City Automobile Limited, located at 12 Station Road ,GRA, Enugu. Also forfeited to the Federal Government include  properties of Hill Gate Investment  – Plot No H12, H13, H14, H15, H21`, H116, H188, Plot 10, Plot H11, Plot H16, Plot H17, Plot H18, Plot 19, Plot H20, Plot H49, Plot H50, Plot H117, CP/4 (HCR2), CP5 (HCR2) CP/6(HCR2) CP/7 (HCR2) CP/8

The assets also include several undeveloped properties/plots of land of Rainbownet Nigeria Limited in Enugu, Abakaliki, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha, Awka and Umuahia.

Properties of Rainbownet Communication which include BTS, Microwave Avenue Radio, Rectifiere, and a host of the equipment in various sites in Anambra States are also to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The statement noted that aside the landed properties, over N35 million from the frozen bank accounts of the companies are also to the forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Counsel to the EFCC, who expressed satisfaction with the ruling, said the Commission had to sought for a separate trial of the companies as the former governor had stalled proceedings on the matter on account of frequent application to travel abroad for medical treatment on grounds of ill-health.

It would be recalled that Mr. Nnamani alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his then aide and six firms linked to them: Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Hillgate Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School were first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar in 2007.

However, 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. Later on, the case was again re-assigned to Justice Yinusa, after Justice Archibong (now retired) was also transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

According to the charge, Nnamani conspired with other accused persons to launder funds from the state treasury, especially monies meant for the local government areas of Enugu state.

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