Supreme Court frees senator jailed for N805 million fraud

The Supreme Court has nullified the conviction of Peter Nwaoboshi, who was jailed over N805 million fraud by the Court of Appeal in Lagos on 1 July 2022, having been found guilty of a two-count charge of fraud and money laundering

Penpushing reports that the former federal lawmaker who represented Delta North senatorial district at the Nigerian Senate, after his conviction, however, approached the Supreme Court, urging it to quash his conviction.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) it is recalled  had accused Nwaoboshi and his companies of unlawfully acquiring an asset named Guinea House on Marine Road, Lagos, for N805 million.

Penpushing further reports that the anti-graft agency said property belonged to the Delta State government, explaining that part of the money paid for the property was wired by Suiming Electrical Limited at the behest of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the transactions were believed to be proceeds of illicit financial activities, while it is also recalled that Nwaoboshi went into hiding upon his conviction.

Penpushing also reports that after over seven months of hiding, he was apprehended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives at a hospital in Lagos last February, and from his hiding, he (Nwaoboshi) failed to obtain a post-conviction bail from the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ,while rejecting his bail application on January 27, ruled that it could not grant him bail while he was on the run, and in a four-to-one majority judgement on Friday, ordered Nwaoboshi’s immediate release from Ikoyi Correctional Centre in Lagos, where he is being incarcerated for a seven-year jail time.

Penpushing reports that Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the Supreme Court’s lead majority decision, freed two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd that were prosecuted alongside Nwaoboshi by the commission.

The majority decision of the Supreme Court voided the verdict of the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which had reversed Nwaoboshi’s acquittal by the Federal High Court in Lagos, and providing reasons for its decision, the judge said the former senator and the two companies were unjustly and maliciously prosecuted by the anti-graft agency for committing no offences known to law.

Penpushing further reports that Agim pointed out that Nwaoboshi and the firms were subjected to needless criminal prosecution in a case bordering on civil issues, but  in the dissenting judgement, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa said the Court of Appeal was right to have convicted  Nwaoboshi for fraud, emphasizing  that the financial transactions involving  Nwaoboshi and his companies had elements of dishonesty.

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