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I’m Not Strong Enough To Stand Trial, Former Enugu Governor, Nnamani Tells Court!


Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the former Governor of Enugu State has told a High Court sitting in Lagos that he is not healthy enough to stand trial. Nnamani told the court on Tuesday that he is suffering from a “chronic” heart problem for which he has undergone surgery and is yet to recover.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on March 7, re-arraigned Nnamani before Justice Mohammed Yunusa on 105 counts of money laundering and economic crimes involving about N4.5billion belonging to Enugu State.
The former Governor was charged alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his aide and six firms – Rainbownet Nig Limited, Hillgate Nig Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Limited, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
The anti-graft commission had told the court that part of the allegedly laundered money was meant for some local government areas, but instead of using it to develop the LGAs, the money was allegedly transferred to Nnamani’s bank account in the United States.
The crime was allegedly committed between 1999 and 2007 when Nnamani served as Governor of Enugu State.
Though the charge was filed seven years ago, but trial is yet to begin because of a number of delays.
The case has also passed through four different judges due to transfers and retirements.
Mr. Oluyele Delano (SAN), the defence counsel said the principle of fair hearing requires that his client must be well enough to defend himself. He said “the first accused person is seriously ill. He has undergone a quadruple bypass, an open heart surgery, and while there was relative success with regard to the surgery, he has had to embark on a slow, tedious recovery process.
Unfortunately, he recently suffered a setback to his health in that he continues to suffer chronic chest pains, which the doctors suspect that it may be that his heart is rejecting the pacemaker that has been installed there. My Lord, a dead man cannot be tried. I humbly crave the indulgence of the court to give us more time to be in a position to vigorously defend the allegations against us”.
He continued that “the doctrine of fair hearing acknowledges the need for the accused person not to be prejudiced in his ability to defend the accusations against him on account of ill health.”
Though Kelvin Uzozie, counsel to the EFCC did not oppose the request for an adjournment, he opined that Nnamani’s health problem might not be serious enough to stop his trial.
“Illness per se is not a ground for stalling trial. The question is, is the accused person capable of understanding the proceedings?” he said.
While delivering the ruling, Justice Yunusa said the accused person should be given the opportunity to defend himself. He said “a criminal trial is a rigorous activity that requires a strong person”.


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