A sitting senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, currently representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, has been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for money laundering by the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal.
The court which delivered the judgement on July 1, 2022, also ordered that his 2 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 by the Appellate Court followed the success of the appeal by challenging the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021, 2018 discharged and acquitted the defendants of a 2 count charge of fraud and money laundering.
This disclosure is contained in a series of tweet posts by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on its official Twitter account.
- Recall that earlier in April 2018, the EFCC arraigned Senator Nwaoboshi and 2 other defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.
- Part of the money paid to the vendor, precisely a sum of N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd, was alleged to be part of the proceeds of fraud.
- While delivering his judgement, Justice Aneke of the Federal High Court 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 the evidence of PW2 “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank for purchase of additional equipment and as provision of working capital.
- The Judge said, “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.’’
- He claimed a fatal blow was dealt in the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10”. Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants.
Appellate Court says High Court Judge erred in Judgement
However, ruling on the EFCC’s appeal today, 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.
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