The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday arraigned the lawmaker representing Delta North, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, charging him with an N805 million fraud.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain, was arraigned on a two-count charge of money laundering and fraud alongside two companies namely: Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd. The anti-graft agency had earlier confirmed his arrest over the weekend.
Appearing before the court, Nwaoboshi pleaded not guilty to the charges. After his plea, the Prosecutor, Mr. M. S. Abubakar, told the court that in view of their pleas, a date for trial should be given.
Meanwhile, Dr V. J. O. Azinge, who appeared for the first accused, urged the court to grant Nwaoboshi bail on liberal terms.
But the prosecutor opposed the application and said that the application was not yet ripe for hearing considering the fact that the commission was served with the motion just yesterday (April 24).
“The prosecution is currently filling its processes at the registry of the court,” he told the court.
Replying, Azinge insisted that the prosecution was served with the application on April 23, but refused service.
The defence lawyer added that the bailiff of the court attempted service at their office but same was refused and the bailiff deposed to an affidavit of service.
She argued: “The court does not wait for the indolent neither does equity … the charge has been lingering and the defence is prepared to proceed; the court can stand down the case to enable prosecution file its papers.”
In response, the prosecutor argued that he was not aware that service was refused by the commission.
According to him, from the charge, it is clear that such service ought to have been served at the Abuja office of the commission and not Lagos.
The prosecutor said even if service was properly effected, same was still not ripe for hearing as the rules provide for two clear days.
He submitted that the prosecution was also ready to proceed with trial, but said the court could stand down the case, if the defence so wish.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Justice Mohammed Idris stood down the case until 11.00 a.m. to hear
In the charge No: FHC/L/117C/2018, the EFCC alleged that the accused committed the offences between May and June 2014 in Lagos.
Nwaoboshi was said to have acquired a property described as Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa Lagos, for the sum of N805 million when he reasonably ought to have known that N322 million out of the purchase sum formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.
The sum was said to have been transferred to the vendors by order of Suiming Electrical Ltd.
Suiming Electrical was said to have on May 14, 2014, aided Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch to commit money laundering.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(2), (d), 15 (3) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 201.