Rivers state govt initiates criminal trial of Amaechi, Cole over alleged theft of $53.1m

Port Harcourt—The prosecution of former Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the state, Tonye Cole, over the alleged theft of $53.1 million has been initiated by the state government. 

It was alleged that the money was allegedly stolen through the sale of a gas turbine by the Amaechi-led government to Sahara Energy Resources Limited, which is partly owned by Cole. 

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.

In the lawsuit filed on March 9 at the Rivers state High Court, Amaechi was listed as the first defendant while Cole was listed as the third defendant. Augustine Wokocha is the second defendant and Sahara Energy as the fourth defendant.

The Nation reported that 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 was 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 pretence. 

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 pretence.

The offences were said to be contrary to Sections 516, 419, and 422 of the Criminal Code Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

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