Rivers State Government has initiated the process of prosecuting former Governor Rotimi Amaechi and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the state, Tonye Cole, over the alleged theft of $53.1 million belonging to the government.
The money was allegedly stolen through a reported deal between the then-Amaechi-led government and Sahara Energy Resources Limited, a company in which Cole had an interest.
The deal had to do with the sale of a gas turbine by the state to Sahara Energy.
The state filed all processes such as application for substituted service, list of authorities relied upon by the state, and counter-affidavits to void Amaechi’s and Cole’s motions seeking to stall their trials.
Amaechi is the first defendant and Cole, is third in the process filed on March 9 at the Rivers State High Court.
Augustine Wokocha, the second defendant, and Sahara Energy the fourth defendant.
In count, one Amaechi and Wokocha were said to have on or about October 21, 2013, conspired to defraud the government through account number 0064889439 domiciled with Access Bank Plc addressed a letter of mandate to pay without any recourse to the government by virtue of which said letter the bank on or about December 3, 2014, paid $53.1million to Sahara Energy Resources Limited purporting the payment as a refund of loans granted by Sahara Energy Resources to the government.
In count two, Amaechi, Cole, Wokocha, Sahara Energy, and NG Power – HP Limited were said to have on or about December 1, 2014, conspired among themselves to commit a felony to steal $53.1 million, being the property of the state government.
In count three, all the defendants were said to have on or about December 3, 2014, stolen $53.1million property of the government through its account number 0064889492 with Access Bank Plc purporting same to be a refund of loans granted by Sahara Energy Resources Limited to the government.
In count four, all the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to commit a felony to obtain money by false pretense.
In another charge, the defendants were said to have received N53.1 million property of the government knowing same to have been stolen or obtained by false pretense.
The offenses were said to be contrary to Sections 516, 419, and 422 of the Criminal Code Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had at many fora insisted that Cole lacked the moral grounds to be the governor of the state.
Wike explained that Cole was not electable because he was facing prosecution for allegedly defrauding the state.