Alleged Fraud: Court Issues Bench Warrant Against Amaechi, Tonye Cole

A High Court in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has issued a bench warrant against Rotimi Amaechi, former Transport Minister and Tonye Cole, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the State.

The presiding judge, Chinwendu Nwogu, also issued a bench warrant against Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Chamberlain Peterside, NG powers HPS Limited and Cenpropsaroten Management Limited over failure to appear before the court on Rivers State government’s criminal charges against them.

Though counsels for the defendants unanimously informed the court of their motion on non-service of court processes, Nwogu insisted on issuing the bench warrant.

Information Nigeria reports that Rivers government had filed a fresh lawsuit on misappropriation of public funds against Amaechi during his tenure as governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, had in 2022 set up a seven-man panel to probe Amaechi over an alleged withdrawal of N96 billion from the treasury during his tenure as governor.

The panel had also investigated issues surrounding the “sale of assets” by the former governor.

The listed valuable assets are Omoku Gas Turbine, Afam Gas Turbine, Trans Amadi Gas Turbine, Eleme Gas Turbine, Olympia Hotel, and the contract award for the execution of the monorail project.

Though the panel submitted its report in 2015, Amaechi insists that he is not guilty of fraud.

However, the supreme court on May 27, 2022 dismissed an application by Amaechi, challenging the probe.

According to Wike, criminal charges were filed against the former governor, as well as Sahara Energy, a firm indicted in the deals.

Information Nigeria reports that Sahara Energy was co-founded by Tonye Cole.

Nonetheless, amidst their absence, Justice Nwogu, adjourned the case to July 5 for plea.