Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, currently representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, is now to be transferred to prison where he will spend seven years for money laundering.
He was convicted and sentenced today, July 1 by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which ordered that his two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd, and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.
The ruling of the Court of Appeal followed an appeal that challenged the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021 discharged and acquitted the defendants of a two-count charge of fraud and money laundering.
The case started when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, at the cost of N805 million.
The Commission had argued that part of the money paid to the vendor, the sum of N322 million which Suiming Electrical Ltd had transferred on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd – was part of the proceeds of fraud.
However, ruling on the matter, Justice Aneke held that the prosecution failed to call vital witnesses and tender concrete evidence to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the defendants.
Justice Aneke said that the evidence of police Witness (PW2): “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank for purchase of additional equipment and as the provision of working capital.
“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third. Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the EFCC quoted the judge as saying in a statement.
He claimed a fatal blow was dealt the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10”.
He, therefore, discharged and acquitted the defendants.
However, ruling on the EFCC’s appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents. It said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged.