The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, senator representing Delta North senatorial district at the National Assembly, to seven years imprisonment.
The court is its ruling on Friday also ordered that the senator’s 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 followed an appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which had 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.
EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.
EFCC argued that 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.
However, Justice Aneke of the lower court in his judgement 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.
The lower court 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.
“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.
The court stated that 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, the defendants were discharged and acquitted by the lower court.
However, the Court of Appeal on Friday 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, thus overturning the ruling of the lower court’s ruling.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.