Nigerian Senator Remanded in Prison Over Alleged N905m Fraud
The Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday arraigned Senator Peter Nwaoboshi before Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering and fraud to the tune of N805million.
According to the agency spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the Senator is charged alongside two companies namely: Golden Touch Construction Project Limited and Suiming Electrical Limited.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Peter Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Projects Limited, between May and June, 2014, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did acquire a property described as Guinea House, Marine Road, Apala, Lagos, for the sum of N805million, when you reasonably ought to have known that the sum of N322 million out of the purchase price transferred to the vendors by order of Suinming Electricals Limited formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011(as amended) and punishable under Section (15)(3) of the same Act”.
The defendant, representing Delta North in the National Assembly, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, M. S. Abubakar, asked the court for a trial date and remand the defendant in prison custody.
However, counsel to the first defendant, Dr. V. J. O. Azinge, pleaded with the court to grant her client bail in liberal terms.
Azinge, who said the defendant did not jump the administrative bail granted him by the Commission, further told the court that his client had a health challenge.
In his response, the prosecution counsel urged the court not to hear the application on the grounds that the Commission was served with the application only on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
“The prosecution is currently filling its process at the Registry of the Court”, he added.
When counsel to the first defendant told the court that the Commission was served on Monday, April 23 and that it refused service, Abubakar countered, saying “such service, from the details of the charge, should have been served at the Abuja office of the Commission and not Lagos”.
The prosecution counsel, who said he was ready to proceed with the trial, further told the court that “My Lord, even if the service was properly done, it is still not ripe for hearing because the rules provide for two clear days”.
The prosecution counsel, therefore, pleaded with the court to stand down the case.
Consequently, Justice Idris stood down the case for some hours to hear the bail application.
When the case was later called up, Justice ordered the defendant to be remanded in Ikoyi prisons and adjourned the case to Friday, April 27, 2018 for ruling on bail application.