- Best Mbano, an ex-commissioner of commerce and industry to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo, has been arrested by the police
- Mbano was arraigned in a magistrate court for alleged fraud and theft of fuel station materials valued at over N38 million
- His case has been adjourned by the magistrate, Adaugo Nosiri, to Monday, September 10, with his files sent to the directorate of public prosecutions for legal directive
A former commissioner of commerce and industry to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Best Mbano, was on Monday, August 27, arrested by the police command in the state and arraigned in a magistrate court for alleged fraud and theft, Punch reports.
The 11 count-charge against the ex-commissioner bordered on fraud, stealing and destruction of fuel stations in the state. Mbanaso was also an former special adviser on mayoral affairs (Orlu zone) to Okorocha before he fell out with him following arguments over who should become the state's next governor.
Mbanaso was arrested Wednesday, August 22. He pleaded not guilty to the charges levied instituted against him. He was alleged to have, between 2012 and 2013, with intent to defraud, received fuel station materials valued at over N38m from Olison Enterprises, belonging to one Chief Oliver Anopuome, on behalf of the state government.
He was also alleged to have received 33,000 litres of diesel, worth more than N5m, belonging to the firm.
Furthermore, Caleb Achi, the police prosecutor, accused Mbano of destroying a fuel station belonging to one Oliver under the false pretences of acting for the state government.
The charges against the ex-commissioner partly read: “That you, Best Mbanaso, conspired with others now at large to steal underground fuel tanks and a GP water tank belonging to Olison Enterprises.”
The magistrate, Adaugo Nosiri, decried the way in which the charges were prepared. She reprimanded the police for arraigning the accused on charges the magistrate’s court has no jurisdiction over.
Fintan Ilika, Mbano's lawyer, sought for bail for his client on liberal terms, adding that the charges were “politically orchestrated.”
The court granted bail to Mbano on all the charges she had jurisdiction over with one surety who must be a civil servant from grade level 10.
Adjourning the matter to Monday, September 10, Nosiri directed that the files be sent to the directorate of public prosecutions for legal directive.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com reported that a Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo state, had ordered the All Progressives Congress (APC) to refrain from conducting Saturday, May 19, congress or any other congress in the state, pending the determination of a suit filed by Mbagwu Augustine and four others against the APC and 10 others.
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