Four of the six companies standing trial alongside a former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, accused of N5bn money laundering, have pleaded guilty to amended counts in relation to the offence.
The four companies –Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital – pleaded guilty on Tuesday following their re-arraignment on an amended 10-count.
The companies are being prosecuted separately from Nnamani by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to fast-track their trial.
The move was to save their assets from being eroded, because the trial had made little or no progress since 2007 when it commenced due to Nnamani’s ill health.
Apart from the four companies arraigned on Tuesday, others who were standing trial with Nnanami include his erstwhile aide, Sunday Anyaogu, Hillgate Nigeria Limited and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
In the amended 10-count levelled against Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, and Renaissance University, the four companies were accused of failing to comply with a lawful enquiry by Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, who was then the EFCC’s Director of Operations.
Lamorde, it was said, had ordered investigation into the complicity of the four companies in the alleged offences.
The companies had, however, allegedly refused to release their cash books, fixed assets, various vouchers and cheques to the EFCC operatives for investigation.
They were also accused of failure to give the breakdown of their trade creditors and to show the names of their creditors and amounts from between 2002 and 2006.
The offences according to the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Kelvin Uzozie, were punishable under section 38(2) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
Upon reading the 10-count to the four companies, their counsel, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), pleaded guilty on their behalf.
Following the guilty plea, Uzozie urged the court to adjourn the matter for review of facts of the offences.
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, adjourned the matter till May 27, for review of the facts of the case.