The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday dismissed an application by the senator representing Delta North Senatorial District, Peter Nwaoboshi, seeking to reclaim a 12-storey building seized from him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had, based on an allegation of N1.5bn contract scam against Nwaoboshi, seized the senator’s building located at 27, Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos.
The seizure was pursuant to an interim order made by Justice Abdulaziz Anka on April 24, 2017.
But Nwaoboshi had, through his lawyer, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), filed an application seeking to discharge the temporary forfeiture order.
He described the application leading to the interim forfeiture order as an abuse of court processes, contending that Justice Anka ought not to have made the order because, according to him, the judge did not have jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Idigbe, while describing the application that led to the seizure of Nwaoboshi’s house as an abuse of court processes, accused the EFCC of suppressing material facts before Justice Anka.
He urged the judge to vacate the interim forfeiture order.
However, in a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Anka dismissed Nwaoboshi’s argument, holding that the court could not restrain a security agency from carrying out its statutory functions.
“Investigation activities will not be stopped by the court against the agency while it is carrying out its statutory duties; this will amount to pre-empting the investigative powers of the agency. Investigation activities cannot be stopped by the court,” Justice Anka held, dismissing Nwaoboshi’s application.
The EFCC had earlier told the judge that Nwaoboshi, through his company, Bilderberg Enterprises Limited, got a N1.580bn contract to supply some construction equipment to the Delta State Direct Labour Agency sometime in 2010.
The anti-graft agency, however, claimed that Nwaoboshi’s company supplied second-hand equipment to the agency while he actually collected money to supply new equipment, thereby short-changing the agency.
The EFCC claimed that Nwaoboshi later used the proceeds of the alleged scam to purchase the 12-storey building, formerly known as Guinea House, for N805m in the name of his company, Golden Touch Construction Project Limited.
It said it would best serve the interest of justice to order the seizure of Nwaoboshi’s building pending the conclusion of investigation into the case and possible filing of criminal charges against Nwaoboshi.