February 8, 2023

Senator Nwaoboshi finally lands in Ikoyi Prison over N805 million scam

Soni Daniel, Abuja

After trying for many months to get the Supreme Court to squash his conviction over N805 million scam, the Senator representing Delta North in the National Assembly, Peter Nwaoboshi, has finally been taken to prison to begin his seven years’ jail term.

The embattled lawmaker was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a hospital in Lagos on Monday and taken to the Ikoyi Prison in Lagos on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren.

Nwaoboshi, who had been in hiding for many months in his bid to get the Supreme court to overturn his conviction over money laundering, lost his bid to convince the apex court to do his bidding and had to proceed to jail and serve his term.

It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal had in a judgement it delivered on July 1, 2022, sentenced him to prison after it convicted him on a two-count charge of money laundering and also ordered the winding up of his two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, in line with the provision of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021, and their properties forfeited to the Federal Government.

But the lawmaker, who was not present in court at the time of the ruling, went underground and refused to present himself to the Nigerian Correctional Service. Instead, he proceeded to the Supreme Court, praying the apex court to not only set it aside the judgment of the appeal court but grant him bail, pending the determination of his appeal.

But in a unanimous decision on January 27, 2023, the apex court dismissed the application. In the lead judgement by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court wondered why Nwaoboshi, who refused to submit himself to the law, would seek the indulgence of the law.

Justice Tijani Abubakar, in his contribution, upbraided the Appellant for filing the bail application while on the run.

“We must make it very, very clear to all Nigerians that nobody is above the law. The government and the governed are subject to the rule of law. And, we must ensure that there is respect for the rule of law”.

The Court of Appeal judgement that convicted Nwaoboshi followed an appeal by the EFCC against the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos, which had on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the lawmaker and his companies.

Nwaoboshi and his companies illegally acquired a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million. Part of the money paid for the property was transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd. The funds are believed to be proceeds of illicit activities of the convict.

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,  Marina Road,  Apapa,  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.”