Imo Ex-Commissioner, Laz Anyanwu Bags Three-Year Jail Term Over N180m Fraud
Former Commissioner for Transport in Imo State, Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu has been sentenced to three years in prison by a State High Court sitting in Owerri.
Anyanwu, who served during the administration of ex-governor Rochas Okorocha, was sentenced on Tuesday after he was found guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he is a major shareholder and sole signatory.
At that time, the convict doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company (ITC).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned him for violating the public procurement act, abuse of office, and using his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as a commissioner and ITC chairman.
The EFCC said while Okoroafor-Anyanwu was commissioner between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited which is against sections 12 and 19 of the ICPC act 2020 for public servants.
He also approved the transfer of another N80 million from government funds directly to his private company account under the guise of procuring vehicles for the management of ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
Upon arraignment in 2020, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Delivering the judgment on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the presiding judge, K.A. Lewanya found Okoroafor-Anyanwu guilty of fraud, looting of public funds, and stealing.
Lewanya sentenced the former commissioner to three years imprisonment, stressing that the jail term would serve concurrently.
The judge held that EFCC’s counsel, Michael Ani, was able to prove the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge also ordered that the looted N180 million found in his account be forfeited to the Imo state transport company.
KanyiDaily had also reported that a high court in Yobe sentenced the auditor-general of the state, Idris Yahaya, to five years in prison over N19m fraud.