SUPREME COURT REJECTS AMAECHI’S APPEAL TO STOP N96BN FRAUD PROBE BY RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT
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The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi to stop a N96 billion fraud probe by the Rivers State government.
In a lead judgment prepared by Justice Emmanuel Augie but read by Justice Adamu Jairo, the apex court dismissed the appeal of Mr Amaechi on grounds that the issue of not being given a fair hearing does not arise as no one is on trial.
The court also ordered Mr Amaechi to pay the sum of N1 million to Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike.
Mr Amaechi, represented by his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, had asked that the apex court restrict Mr Wike from scrutinising his 8-year term as governor of the state, as it was aimed at witch-hunting and embarrassing him.
In 2015, Rivers State had constituted a panel of enquiries into alleged fraud. Governor Wike tasked a 7-man panel headed by Justice George Omereji to investigate the lawful or otherwise sales of valuable assets of the state.
The Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to Mr Wike, noting that persons who would have to refund mismanaged funds and others have been identified for immediate prosecution.
In light of the Supreme Court ruling, Mr Amaechi is expected to appear before the Commission of Inquiry to give an account of how a N96 billion was withdrawn from the coffers of the state and how it was spent.
The listed valuable assets include Omoku Gas Turbine, Afam Gas Turbine, Trans Amadi Gas Turbine, Eleme Gas Turbine, Olympia Hotel, and the award of contract for the execution of the monorail project.