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$130m fraud: Court remands Saipem MD, Peviana, Chinakwe in Port Harcourt prisons

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Issues warrant of capture for 3 expats, Zingali, Testaguzza, and Anelli
A Rivers State High Court has remanded the Managing Director of Saipem Contracting, Mr. Walter Peviana and Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe in Port Harcourt Correctional Center over a supposed connivance to cheat and with goal to swindle the Government of Rivers State of the amount of $130 million USD, being settlement ahead of time for the development of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.



The court, managed by Justice Okogbule Gbasam, has additionally given a seat warrant for the capture of three ostracizes staff of Saipem specifically, Giandomenico Zingali, Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli.

At the continued hearing in court to take supplications, after the case was bordered last December 2021 in the claim No. PHC/3106/CR/2021, Justice Gbasam requested that the third litigant, Walter Peviana and the fourth respondent, Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe be remanded at the Port Harcourt Correctional Service until the following hearing date.

The indictment is the Government of Rivers State, while the respondents are: Saipem SPA (first litigant), Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited (second respondent), Mr. Walter Peviana (third respondent), Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe (fourth respondent), Giandomenico Zingali (fifth respondent), Vitto Testaguzza (sixth respondent) and Davide Anelli (seventh litigant).



The adjudicator, who was seen with alarm the persistent nonattendance from court of three respondents, Giandomenico Zingali, Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, gave a seat warrant and put the State Police Commissioner and other security offices on notice to capture and deliver the previously mentioned people in court to confront their preliminary having been properly served notice by the Government of Rivers State.

The lead insight to the Rivers State Government, Chief Godwin Obla, SAN, depended on segment 195 of the Rivers State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015 to supplicate that those missing be attempted in absentia since they have been appropriately served court processes.

Gone against to that position, the lead insight to first, second, third and sixth respondents, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, clarified that however court processes have been served on his customers, the sixth litigant was missing in court on wellbeing grounds.



Resolving the issue of non-appearance of respondents in court, Justice Gbasam noticed that at the fundamental hearing stages, the court, on December 14, 2021, requested that all gatherings ought to be in court since it is a criminal case.

Equity Gbasam, who dismissed the following hearing and taking of supplications to Tuesday, eighteenth January 2022 said this will empower the direction to the litigants including Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, and K. Akinwole (for the fourth respondent) to concentrate on the charges, different oaths and correlative reports appropriately.

Addressing writers after the court meeting, Obla clarified that a few years prior, the Rivers State Government had an agreement with Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd in regard of Turbines and their structure in Afam 11 in Oyigbo nearby government area of Rivers State.



As indicated by him, the Rivers State Government had paid Saipem an aggregate of $130m (One Hundred and Thirty million Dollars) and N7 billion (Seven billion Naira.)

He clarified that in spite of such installment, the work didn’t advance past around 40% of the agreement aggregate in any event, when the all out agreement total has been gathered with the organization actually looking for extra $97m (Ninety-Seven billion Dollars) to have the option to finish the agreement.

“So measurable examination of whole authoritative understanding as done and the sum spent up to this point uncovered that there were criminal infractions in regard of this agreement.



“It is in connection of the criminal infractions that charges have now been brought against the organization and people working with the organization who were complicit in that large number of exercises.”

Obla talked further saying that “preliminary has started after around two past delays.”

“The litigants requested an intermission, the state was prepared to continue, the matter has now been dismissed to Tuesday one week from now and the overseeing overseer of the second respondent in Nigeria and the other blamed individual have been remanded in jail authority till Tuesday one week from now.

“They are Mr. Walter Peviana and one Nigerian representative with the organization, Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe, the third and fourth litigants separately on the charge sheet.”



Expounding further, Obla said the fifth, sixth and seventh litigants are non-Nigerians who have all been presented with the court processes as per the request for court.

As per him, since they have rejected not to be available, the court has practiced its power under areas 195 Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Rivers State to attempt them in absentia.

“Under the criminal laws of Lagos State, criminal infractions are reformatory offense. Notwithstanding the reformatory offenses, there are arrangements in the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Rivers State that accommodates compensation.



“Along these lines, after the preliminary, people will serve their terms and compensations will be made in regard of this monies. The complete monies mentioned for compensation is about $59m (Fifty-Nine million U.S. dollars) and about N7.4 billion (Seven-Point-Four billion Naira)” he added.

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