The trial of Peter Nwaoboshi, a Peoples Democratic Party Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District was again stalled today due to the inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take a decision and confirm to a Federal High Court whether it is ready to continue with the trial or not.
Earlier the prosecuting team has asked the court sitting before Justice Mohammed Idris to transfer the matter to another judge as it believes that it is not what the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA) recommended in its provisions on part-heard matters.
But the judge in his ruling on Tuesday assumed jurisdiction to hear the matter expressly as directed by the President of the Court of Appeal through a fiat and in agreement of the consenting parties.
Also on Wednesday, Idris in his ruling berated the EFCC for delaying the matter which has been agreed upon by parties to be concluded before the end of September, 2018.
The judge said: “The judiciary is ready, my court is ready, the defence is ready but it does not seem that the prosecution is ready to go on with this matter.
” I am ready to sit from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday next week to conclude the matter for the prosecution.
” The ACJA is clear on the issue of delays. It is to eliminate unacceptable delays.
Nwaoboshi was docked by the EFCC on a two-count charge of money laundering and fraud alongside two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail by the trial judge on self-recognisance as a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The trial commenced on June 20 when the prosecution (EFCC), opened its case and called two witnesses in evidence who were subsequently cross-examined.
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.
It stated that the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(2), (d) , 15 (3) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Act.