Money laundering: Bank confirms Nwaoboshi paid back loan
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday called its second witness in the trial of Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi charged with money laundering.
Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North Senatorial District, was charged by the EFCC along with two companies – Golden Touch Construction Projects Ltd. and Suiming Electricals.
They were accused of laundering N322 million.
The EFCC re-arraigned the accused, before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on Oct. 5, following the elevation of the previous trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, to the Court of Appeal.
The senator pleaded not guilty before Idris and Aneke.
Following his re-arraignment, the case started afresh.
On Tuesday, the prosecution witness, Mr Murtala Abubakar, who works with the Nigeria Export-Import Bank as Head of Enterprise Risk Management, told the court that Nwaoboshi paid about N2 billion in respect of a loan his company took from the bank for establishment of a manufacturing industry in Nigeria.
He said that the loan was about N1.2 billion, but with accrued interest, the senator had paid back about N2 billion, with N24 million still outstanding.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr O.A. R. Ogunde (SAN), the witness told the court that his schedule of duties included identification, measurement and management of risk on behalf of the bank.
When asked to tell the court the nature of the bank, the witness said that the bank was jointly owned by the Federal Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He added that the bank was set up to provide finance, risk bearing and advisory services to non-oil exporters.
“However, we also finance companies that are into import substitution; that is, replacing imports with local production,” he said.
Under cross- examination by defence counsel, Mr G.A. Mowah, the witness said that the tenure of the loan was five years, adding that it would expire in 2019.
He admitted that all the conditions and guidelines for loan were met before money was directly disbursed to the third accused (Suiming Electricals).
The witness testified that the money was disbursed to the third accused after approval by the bank’s board.
He told the court that there was a deed of guarantee between the bank and the third accused.
The witness also admitted that there was a certificate of occupancy of the third accused. He also admitted that the loan was disbursed in line with the policy of the bank and Federal Government to encourage local manufacturing and discourage importation.
Justice Aneke adjourned the case until Jan. 30, 2019, for continuation of trial.
The prosecution alleged that Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Projects purchased a 12-storey building known as Guinea House on Marine Road in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million in May and June 2014.
The anti-graft agency claimed that N322 million out of the N805 million was part of proceeds of fraud.
The EFCC also alleged that the N322 million was transferred to the property’s vendor on the order of Suiming Electricals, which was accused of aiding to commit the money laundering.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(2)(d) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011. (NAN)