A High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has sentenced a former , Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu, to three years imprisonment for a three-count charge bothering on fraud, looting public funds and stealing.
Okoroafor- Anyanwu was the Commissioner for Transport under the administration of Rochas Okorocha
Delivering the judgment , the presiding Judge, Justice K.A Lewanya, said Okoroafor-Anyanwu was found guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he is a major shareholder and sole signatory when he superintended and doubled as Commissioner for Transport and the Chairman Interim Committee of the Imo State Transport Company (ITC) which is against Section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020.
The Judge held that Okoroafor-Anyanwu was also found guilty of 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.
According to him, the counsel to The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Barrister Michael Ani, who is the prosecuting counsel was able to proved beyond reasonable doubt that when 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 Section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020 for a Public Servant.
He further held that Okoroafor-Anyanwu signed off another N80 million from government coffers directly to his private company account on the notion that he was to procure certain vehicles for the management of ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
Okoroafor- Anyanwu pleaded not guilty, but the judge in her ruling sentenced him with no option of fine.
Also, the judge ruled that the looted N180 million found in his account be forfeited to the Imo State Transport Company.
The former Commissioner was arraigned before the Imo State High Court in November 2020 following a petition by an anonymous petitioner in the state tate who accused him of looting public funds, abuse of office, and embezzlement while in office .