The Court of Appeal in Lagos, has convicted and sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North senatorial district to seven years imprisonment. The court also 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 court’s ruling followed the success of the appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, challenging the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the defendants of a two count charge of fraud and money laundering.
EFCC had arraigned the three 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 proceeds of fraud.
In the two-count charge marked FHC/L/117C/18, the EFCC alleged that the defendants laundered N322 million between May and June 2014.
However, in a judgment delivered in June 2021, Aneke held that the agency failed to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the senator.
The judge also held that the prosecution’s case collapsed because “bank officials were not called to testify”.
Aneke also discharged the companies on the same grounds.
Not satisfied with the judgment, the anti-graft agency filed an appeal.
Delivering judgment on Friday, the appellate court overturned the lower court’s judgment and convicted the senator.
According to a statement by the EFCC, 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,” the statement reads.