Rivers State initiates criminal trial of Amaechi, Cole, 2 others over alleged theft of $53.1M

The Rivers State government has initiated the prosecution of former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi and APC candidate for the state, Tonye Cole, over their alleged $53.1 million theft. 

It was claimed that the money was allegedly stolen through the sale of a gas turbine by the Amaechi-led government to Sahara Energy Resources Limited, a firm 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 annul 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 and Sahara Energy were listed as second and fourth defendants, respectively.

Information has it 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 $53.1 million 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 the government by Sahara Energy Resources Limited.

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