The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has sentenced the Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District, Peter Nwaoboshi, to seven years imprisonment over N322 million fraud. In its ruling yesterday, the appellate court also ordered that the lawmaker’s two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wind-up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.
The court’s ruling was sequel to an appeal lodged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to challenge Nwaoboshi’s discharge and acquittal of the crime by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos. In upholding the anti- graft agency’s appeal, the Appellate Court 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. It would be recalled that Justice Aneke had on June 18, 2021, cleared the senator and his two companies of the 2 counts charge bordering on N322 million fraud slammed on them by the EFCC.
Delivering judgement in the matter, Justice Aneke said the EFCC failed to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the lawmaker and his companies to court. The judge noted that the evidence led by the first prosecution witness, Prince Kpokpogri, could best be described as hearsay because it was based on a call from an anonymous caller and that he did not tender the documents supplied to him by the anonymous caller who was never invited by the prosecution to testify in the matter. Justice Aneke further noted that the computer- generated statement of account sought to be tendered by the third prosecution witness, Eyitayo Moigbemtere, was rejected on the ground that it did not comply with Section 84 of the Evidence Act.