The governor-elect of Enugu State, Mr Peter Mbah, was never convicted for corruption as being speculated in some quarters.
One of his lawyers, Chief Emeka Ozoani, stated this in Enugu on Monday during an interaction with some newsmen. Ozoani, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, further added that Mr Mbah was never a part of the plea bargain which his former boss, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, entered into during his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Nnamani was found guilty of corrupt practices when he held sway as Enugu governor. Mbah served Nnamani as finance commissioner.
Ozoani, who made reference to FHC/L/230C/2007; FHC/L/09C/2007. FRN V NNAMANI CHIMAROKE & 11ORS, said those championing that Mbah was indicted in the case were bent in tarnishing Mbah’s image.
According to him, “Grievances have been vented in public by sections of those who bitterly argue that Mr Peter Mbah, the governor-elect of Enugu State, should not have been allowed to vie for the office. For them, he is a convict arising from alleged plea-bargaining in the case of FRN Vs NNAMANI & 11ORS. This is so far from the truth and is not even close to being true.
“The governor-elect of Enugu State was never involved in either of the two distinct categories of plea-bargaining (charge bargaining or sentence bargaining). He was neither a director nor shareholder of the four legal entities involved in plea bargain.”
He urged the public to consult the court records on the matter to ascertain that Mbah was not convicted for any allegations.
In his words, “I take the leaves from the archives of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, specifically, the records of the Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa dated 7th March, 2013 and 7th March, 2015, respectively.
“There was K.C. Uzozie for the complainant (FRN); Rickey Tarfa, SAN, with K.G.B. Oguawgua, A. Shamsudeen, C.O. Chijoke and Uwu Onwuka for the 1st, 5th and 7th-12th accused persons; Onyechi Ikpeazu with Jones Idu, Charles Udo, Nwankwo Amaechi, N.C. Joy Ozegwu (Mrs.) for the 2nd and 4th accused persons and Micheal Iyore with Ifeanyi Ezeogba, Tonia Onabanjo Mrs, for the 3rd accused person.
“The court had held that after hearing K.C. Uzozie Esquire for the complainant, informing the court that they have an application pursuant to Section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Act, to amend the charge and as per the amended charge, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons be discharged, with O. Ikpeazu, SAN, for the 2nd and 4th accused persons not opposing, and Micheal Iyore Esquire for the 3rd accused person not opposing.
“The court had ordered that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons are hereby discharged and that the case is hereby adjourned to the 28th day of May, 2013.
“Issued in Lagos under the seal of the court and the hand of the presiding judge this 7th day of March, 2013. Attachment A.”
The legal luminary added that the Enugu governor-elect was also not the owner or had any relationship with the companies that engaged in plea bargain in the case and forfeited property, noting that, ‘the leaves of court undoubtedly settle the casus belli between the feuding Thomases’.
THE WHISTLER earlier quoted Mbah saying that his arrest and detention by the EFCC during the trial of Sen Nnamani was because of the office he held during Nnamani’s administration, and described himself as ‘a placeholder’.