By Taiye Agbaje
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, dismissed its earlier interim forfeiture order on Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi’s assets, including funds in four banks, granted to the Federal Government.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) had, on July 14, taken temporary possession of several property allegedly owned by Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North Senatorial District, including accounts in Zenith, Access, UBA and Sterling Banks.
This followed an interim forfeiture order by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on July 5, giving the lawmaker or anyone who might have owned the seized assets 30 days to convince the court why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Nigerian government.
In a motion on notice by Counsel to the senator, Mr Robbert Clarke, SAN, filed on July 11 and brought to the court’s attention, Nwaoboshi urged the court to set aside the ruling.
He also challenged the court’s jurisdiction to further grant audience to the SPIP in relation to his assets.
Justice Taiwo, while delivering judgment, on Monday, however set aside the earlier order, giving the SPIP to seize the assets.
NAN reports that the SPIP in ex parte application moved by the panel’s lawyer, Celsus Ukpong, described the assets as suspicious or suspected to be far beyond the legitimate income of Nwaoboshi.
Nwaoboshi, the Zenith Bank, Access Bank, United Bank of Africa and Sterling Bank are joined as the 1st to the 5th respondents respectively in the said ex parte application.
Although, Ukpong had applied for interim forfeiture of 14 landed assets, the judge only granted the request in respect of 11, as he exempted three of them that were without addresses from the order.
The affected properties include, Suiming Electrical Company (RC 1090069) located along Asaba Airport Road, Asaba, Delta State; PON Filling Station, along Asaba Airport Road, Asaba, Delta State and a multi-billion naira estate under construction at Maryam Babangida Road, Asaba, Delta State.
They also include, Cartage Cinema located at Okpanan Road, beside Rain Oil Petrol Station, Asaba, Delta State; Newbridge Filing Station, along Airport Road, Warri, Delta State; and a house at No. 8, Monu Olarewaju Crescent, GRA, Asaba, Delta State.
The rest are, a multi-million building located at 41, Buma Road, Apapa, Lagos; Guinea House, No. 27, Marina Road, Apapa, Lagos; Plot 3011B, Kuranah Close, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, and Ceedeez School Hall Airport Road, Asaba Delta State.
Those exempted are Plot on C of O No. 16800, Plot on C of O No. 16711 and Plot on C of O 13988. (NAN)