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Supreme Court okays probe of Amaechi over N96 billion fraud allegation

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Supreme Court okays probe of Amaechi over N96 billion fraud allegation

The Supreme Court has given Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike the go-ahead to probe his predecessor, former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, over alleged pilfering of N96 billion while in office.

Governor Wike had set up a seven-man panel to probe Amaechi’s eight-year tenure for fraudulently selling some assets belonging to the state. The listed assets are 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.

Amaechi, represented by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) had approached the Supreme Court praying for an order of the court to prohibit his successor, Governor Nyesom Wike from investigating his eight-year tenure as the executive governor of Rivers, saying the probe was aimed at witch-hunting, embarrassing, and disgracing him in view of his political differences with his successor.

Justice Adamu Jauro, who led the seven-member panel of justices, while delivering judgment, dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

The apex court affirmed the judgments of the High Court of Rivers and that of the Court of Appeal which had earlier dismissed the same suit for lack of substance and merit.

The court also asked the former minister to pay the respondents N1 million.

Under Nigeria’s Constitution, Ameachi as one of the presidential aspirants for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, will be ineligible for election as President if indicted by the Rivers State Panel of Inquiry.

The apex court also hammered former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, by dismissing his appeal against the N6 billion defamation suit filed against him by former Rivers Governor of Peter Odili.

The court held on the same day that the appeal by Peterside, believed to be a political acolyte of Amaechi, lacked merit.

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