- Senator Peter Nwaboshi has lost his bid to reclaim his property seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
- Nwaoboshi represents Delta North Senatorial District in the upper chamber
- He is also a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta state
Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court Ikoyi on Thursday, October 4, affirmed the interim forfeiture of a property belonging to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.
Justice Anka had earlier on April 24, granted an interim forfeiture of the said property, a 12-floor high rise building to the EFCC.
However, counsel to Nwaoboshi, Anthony Idigbe SAN, approached the court to discharge the order on the grounds that the applicant misrepresented and concealed material facts to the court, including a subsisting suit filed against the applicant; and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to grant the order.
Idigbe, SAN, further informed the Court that there was no criminal process to warrant the order as Nwaoboshi was not under investigation and has not been arrested, searched or invited by the anti-graft agency.
He said the interim forfeiture order violated the senator's right to own property as guaranteed by Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution.
In opposing the motion, EFCC counsel, Ekene Ihenacho urged the court to uphold the interim forfeiture order.
According to him, the commission discovered that Nwaoboshi got a contract through his company, Bilderberg Enterprises Limited, to supply new construction equipment to the Delta state Direct Labour Agency (DLA) at N1.5 billion during the course of its investigation.
He stated that the company imported and supplied used construction equipment, in place of brand new ones, despite receiving full payment.
He also said Senator Nwaoboshi allegedly bought the 12-floor building at 29, Marine road, Apapa, Lagos at the sum of N805 million, in the name of Golden Touch Construction Projects Limited, from the proceeds of the DLA contract.
Ihenacho went on to say the interim forfeiture order granted on April 21 was to preserve the property from being dissipated, urging the court to refuse the application in the interest of justice.
Justice Anka, while affirming the forfeiture order, commended the EFCC for following due process, by not arresting the senator before concluding investigations.
He noted that, not being arrested or searched does not rob the court of its jurisdiction to grant an order.
The judge also agreed with the EFCC that the right to own property was not absolute, stressing that fundamental rights can be curtailed by relevant agencies put in place for the purpose of carrying out its responsibilities.
He dismissed the motion for lack of merit, while stating that the court has jurisdiction to grant and ex parte order pending investigation and prosecution.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has brushed off allegations by Dame Patience Jonathan that the commission is witch-hunting her.
Mrs Jonathan had recently accused the EFCC of trying to tarnish her reputation and that of her husband.
“The case is before the court where she (Patience Jonathan) has the liberty to state any claim,” an EFCC spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday, October 4.
"We need a mass burial for our leaders!" Man criticizes Nigerian government officials on - NAIJ.com TV