Appeal Court Slams 7 Years Jail Term On Delta Senator, Nwaoboshi, For Money Laundering
The Lagos division of Appeal Court today, upturned the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a LagosFederal High Court, which acquitted and discharged Senator Peter Nwaoboshi of the N322 million money laundering charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Nwaoboshi is the Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
The Appellate in its judgement delivered yesterday allowed the appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and convicted and sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi to seven years imprisonment.
Also, the appeal Court in its unanimous decision ordered that his two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Limited and Suiming Electrical Limited, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.
Justice Aneke of the lower Court, had on June 18, 2021, 2018 discharged and acquitted Senator Nwaoboshi of the N322million money laundering charge filed against him by the EFCC.
The lower court had in its judgement held that the EFCC could not prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the lawmaker.
Dissatisfied, the Commission challenged the judgment and urged the Appellate court to allow the Appeal and set aside Justice Aneke’s judgement.
EFCC had arraigned the Senator Nwaoboshi and his two companies over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.
The defendants were arraigned in 2018 before Justice Mohammed Idris who was later elevated to the Court of Appeal. They were then re-arraigned before Justice Aneke on October 5, 2018.
EFCC in a two-count charge marked FHC/L/117C/18, alleged that the defendants committed the offence between May and June 2014, in Lagos.
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.
But in his judgment, 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 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 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 judge said.
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”.
Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants.
However, The Appeal Court in its judgement delivered today, allowed the EFCC’s appeal, and held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents.
The court further held that the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged.
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