‘N96bn fraud’: Rivers files fresh criminal charge against Amaechi, Tonye Cole

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The Rivers government has filed a fresh criminal charge against Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state and ex-minister of transportation.

Amaechi was sued alongside Tonye Cole, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, for allegedly selling off state assets.

Zacchaeus Adangor, Rivers attorney-general, confirmed the development to ThisDay.

BACKGROUND

Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, had set up a seven-man panel to probe Amaechi over the alleged withdrawal of N96 billion from the state’s treasury during the latter’s tenure as governor.

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

The listed 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 Mono Rail Project.

The panel submitted its report in 2015, but Amaechi has since insisted that he is not guilty of fraud.

However, on May 27, 2022, the Supreme Court dismissed an application by Amaechi challenging the probe.

Consequently, the Rivers governor directed the state’s attorney-general to commence immediate prosecution of the former governor as well as Cole and five others.

Wike had also said criminal charges were also filed against Sahara Energy, a firm said to have been indicted in the deals — the firm is co-founded by Cole.

In October 2022, the suit was struck out by Okogbule Gbasam, judge of the Rivers high court in Port Harcourt, after the state attorney-general applied to withdraw the charge.

 

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