By Editor 6/12/19.
It was a coincidence as well as a surprise to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi on Thursday December 5, 2019, when he learnt at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos premises that his colleague, the Chief Whip at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly and a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, was being convicted on 39-count-charge of fraud involving N7.65 billion by another court sitting before Justice Mohammed Idris.
He was before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke for his own fraud and money laundering case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Though he was lucky yesterday because the judge ordered for the release of his international passport to enable him travel overseas between December 6, 2019 and January 14, 2020, he was however devastated at the news that Kalu who along other senators passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill a day before from Abuja was heading to Ikoyi Prison from the court in Lagos.
Nwaoboshi who was visibly shaken, and he showed it, when his mood changed to that of a man with heavy burden to overcome. He was overheard saying: “This is terrible. What is going on here, for I don’t understand why should this happen to him (Kalu)”.
When The Advocate News sought to know his opinion on the matter, his personal assistant who did not wan to be named said: “My oga is not in any mood to see any person or speak to any person on any issue now. You should understand that it is his colleague that is being sent to prison here and he is not happy about it”.
Kalu was a senator under the All Progressives Congress (APC), while Nwaoboshi fought to retain his seat at the Upper Chamber after he won from the court on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State.
In a show of solidarity he headed to Justice Idris court and had to wait until Orji Uzor Kalu was led outside the courtroom by top prison officials, DSS and Mobile Police operatives straight to the court’s Detention Center at the Car Park area where he was subjected to official profiling before moving him to Ikoyi Prison to take his room to begin his 12 years cumulative jail term as pronounced by the court.
Nwaoboshi was there with Kalu throughout the period the profiling lasted at the Detention Centre. It was not clear to Advocatenewsng.com at the time of filing this story whether he accompanied Kalu to the prison or not.
His own case has dragged on since 2018 with both the prosecution and the defence allegedly frustrating its progress.
The court yesterday gave both parties another date on February 7 and 14, 2020 for ruling and continuation of trial on the objection raised by the defence team led by Chief George Uwechue, SAN, a former chairman of the Body of Benchers, on the admissibility of the bank statement of the account allegedly opened and operated by Nwaoboshi’s company at Zenith Bank, Asaba branch, which is the third defendant in the suit.
This scheduled ruling on this same account will be the third ruling the court will be giving. Justice Aneke delivered a ruling on this same matter on October 8, 2019 rejecting the document because it was a computer generated copy. In his ruling yesterday on the same issue, he rejected the document again because the witness that tendered it was not the one who certified it according to the defence that raised the objection.
In yesterday’s proceeding, the prosecution led by Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, SAN re-tendered the statement through the witness who certified it after examining him in chief. But the defence objected to it again, arguing that it is the same account statement with the same account number that was being presented irrespective of whether it was the witness that certified it or not which the court had previously rejected twice.
The judge then reserved February 7, 2020 to rule on the objection.