The Supreme Court has nullified the July 1, 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal, which reversed the discharge and acquittal of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who represented Delta North. The Court further ordered his release from Ikoyi prison in Lagos, where he was held after being sentenced to seven years for fraud and money laundering offenses.
In its judgment on Friday, the Supreme Court also exonerated the two companies involved in the case, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd. The apex court, in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, held that Nwaoboshi and the two companies were wrongfully and maliciously prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for actions that did not constitute any known offenses under the law.
The court concluded that the EFCC needlessly subjected them to criminal trials for what were essentially civil transactions. The case was initially brought before Judge Mohammed Idris, who was later elevated to the Court of Appeal, and later re-arraigned before Judge Chukwujekwu Aneke on October 5, 2018.
The EFCC had alleged that Nwaoboshi and his companies illegally acquired a property known as Guinea House on Marine Road in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million, a property claimed to belong to the Delta State Government. The anti-graft agency further asserted that funds transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd were believed to be proceeds of illicit activities.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling, Nwaoboshi and the two companies have been absolved of all charges, highlighting the court’s determination that they were wrongfully prosecuted. The judgment raises important questions about the nature of the prosecution and the distinction between civil and criminal matters in such cases.