Former Anambra Governor

Former Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano, In Deeper Financial Mess

Former Anambra Governor

OpenLife Nigeria reports that the former Anambra State governor, Mr. Willie Obiano, is in a deeper mess over financial recklessness when he served as a governor of the almost 32 years old state.

This is the case as his trial continued on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja with two prosecution witnesses disclosing how they supplied Obiano cash in both naira and dollars through his proxies.

Ugochukwu Chinedu, Prosecution Witness, PW3, and a former banker between November 2, 2008 to March 26, 2023, who was the account manager of the Anambra State Government accounts, including the state’s Security Vote account, told the court that he usually delivered raw cash in both Naira and US dollars to Obiano in line with the instructions given to him by Willie Nwokoye and Theophilus Meize, Obiano’s former principal secretary and accountant at the state Government’s House, respectively, who were signatories to the Security Votes account.

“I usually processed transactions with the principal secretary, either daily or weekly, mostly using the instruments of cheques.

“I will go to his office on Fridays to balance the account. All the transactions I carried out were usually based on the instructions given to him by the account holders,” he said.

Further in his testimony, the PW3 stated that “sometimes around July 2021, I was called by the compliance officer that they received an invitation from EFCC regarding an ongoing investigation into the administration of the Anambra State Government Security Votes’ account.

In the course of the investigation, I was asked to provide details into some other accounts that I managed which included Udo Ventures Limited, Moment of Peace Limited, Easy Diamond Integrated Links Limited, C.I Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited, Xpressive Consult Nig. Limited, among others.”

Documents relating to those accounts were marked PW3 A1 to A215, tendered and admitted in evidence.

In the same vein, Hayatu Hassan, a businessman and Prosecution Witness 4, (PW4), who operates five Bureau de Change companies, namely: Seltris BDC Limited, Seltris Limited, Commaught International Services Limited, Holdall Limited, and Norricelea Limited disclosed that he made a total sum of N222,371,000 (Two Hundred and Twenty-two Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-one Thousand) available in dollar equivalent to the Government of Anambra State under Obiano.

“Sometimes last year, I was invited by the EFCC Abuja Office and I was asked if I had any business with the Anambra State Government and I said No.

“Then, the person interviewing me showed me that my company Commaught International Services Limited has done some transactions with the state government.

“He showed me some payments in seven transactions that were done in my Commaught account. Two different transactions were in February 2018, about N172, 371,000 (One Hundred and Seventy-two Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-one Naira) and it was for $465,000 (Four Hundred and Sixty-five Thousand US Dollars).

“The other one was in March 2018 for N50 million and it was for $135,000 (One Hundred and Thirty-five US Dollars), making a total of $600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand US Dollars) and naira equivalent of N222, 371,000.

” I sold the dollars to Ayuba Tanko, another BDC operator. As soon as the transaction was done, I handed over the dollars to Ayuba Tanko. I didn’t know it was from the Anambra State Government,” he said.

Justice Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till October 7, 8, 9 and 10 for continuation of trial.

Obiano is facing prosecution by the EFCC on nine-count charges of embezzlement and money laundering to the tune of N4 billion.

Former Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano, In Deeper Financial Mess
Anambra State

Born on August 8, 1955 in Aguleri, a town in Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria, Willie Obiano is a Nigerian politician, banker and technocrat. He was the 4th Governor of Anambra State from 17 March 2014 to 17 March 2022.

He received a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Lagos in 1979 and a Master of Business Administration from the same university.

Former governor Obiano began his banking career in 1981 at the First Bank of Nigeria before he left to join the services of Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc as an accountant and rose to the position of Chief Internal Auditor.

In 1989, he was one of the auditors that audited Texaco Refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

In 1991, he joined the Fidelity Bank as Deputy Manager and head of Audit unit and rose to the position of executive director in October 2003.

Obiano left the banking system to join Nigerian politics.

In 2013 contested the November 16, 17 and 30 Anambra State gubernatorial elections on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

He won the election and was sworn in on 17 March 2014 to succeed Peter Obi.

On 18 November 2017, he was re-elected as Governor. His tenure ended on the 17 March 2022.

Corruption allegations Against Obiano

In late November 2021, not long after Charles Chukwuma Soludo was elected as Obiano’s successor, it emerged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had placed Obiano on a watchlist so it would be informed if he left the nation; Obiano had flown abroad earlier in November.

In response to the EFCC’s move, the Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, stated that the EFCC had gone to a “new low” by releasing the letter placing Obiano on the list.

Adinuba also claimed that it was well known that Obiano was planning on moving to his residence in the United States after leaving office.

Although the EFCC did not state the reason for the watchlist placement, speculation about potential investigations in alleged corruption led journalists to investigate the finances of the Obiano administration.

On 30 November 2021, an online media released an exclusive on bank documents showing that on 29 March 2017, Obiano had withdrawn over ₦4 billion from multiple Anambra security vote allocation accounts with no stated explanation.

However, hours after Obiano left office and thus lost immunity from prosecution on 17 March 2022, he was arrested by the EFCC at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

Former Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano, In Deeper Financial Mess
EFCC, Nigeria’s anti corruption agency


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