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Rivers Govt Drags Amaechi, Tonye Cole To Court Over ‘N96B Fraud’

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The Rivers State government has instituted fresh criminal case against a former governor of the state and ex-minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

Confirming the criminal charges, the Rivers State Attorney-general, Zacchaeus Adangor, said Amaechi was sued alongside the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Tonye Cole, for allegedly selling off state assets.

CityNews Nigeria  recalls that Governor Nyesom Wike had in 2015 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 which include 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 indicted the former minister when it submitted its report later that year but Amaechi had maintained his innocence over the fraud allegation.

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Ruling on the case on May 27, 2022, the supreme court dismissed an application by Amaechi challenging the probe by the Wike-led government.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Wike 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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