By Emeka Okafor
Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, the lawmaker representing Delta North Senatorial District in Delta State at the Nigerian Senate, has bagged seven years jail term for money laundering, an Appeal Court in Lagos ruled on Friday.
The Court of Appeal 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.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) challenged the judgement of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which had earlier cleared the lawmaker of corruption charges.
Justice Aneke had in a ruling on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the Senator Nwaoboshi and other 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 addition, the Court of Appeal ordered that the companies who were the 2nd and 3rd respondents in appeal be wound up in line with Section 22 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and their properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria
The panel, comprising Justices Abdullahi Bayero, Obande Ogbuniya and Peter Affen in their judgment held that the trial court erred because the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the respondents and thus reverse the earlier judgement discharging and acquitting the respondents.
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.
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