Senate to Investigate Diversion of $322m Paris Club Refund, Says Nwaoboshi

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Peter Nwaoboshi
  •   Denies ownership of 22 bank accounts

 Deji Elumoye in Abuja

A member of the National Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North) yesterday hinted that the Senate will probe the reported diversion of $322 million Paris Club Refund for the 774 local government councils in the country.

Nwaoboshi, a ranking opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator, also denied owning 22 bank accounts, which the Abuja high court last week ordered that he should forfeit to the federal government.

The Senator who spoke to journalists at his Gwarinpa, Abuja residence yesterday said he would present a motion during Senate plenary for the probing of the misappropriated $322 million Paris Fund refund for local government councils.

 “Let me assure Nigerians that I shall bring a motion to investigate the $322 million of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria allegedly taken by consultants from the Paris Club refund. It must be investigated by Nigerians. Nothing will stop it,” he said.

On the reported forfeiture of 11 property and 22  bank accounts purportedly linked to him  by the order of  Justice Taiwo Taiwo of federal high court, Abuja on July 2, the Senator claimed he was yet to be served the court order.

He acknowledged reading the report on the pages of newspapers.

He, however, clarified that he does not own 22 bank accounts,  adding “that is not to say that there is any law that forbids me to own up to that number of bank accounts or more than that in Nigeria.

According to him, “most of the alleged bank accounts belong to companies of which they thought I have interest in but I am not a signatory, not a director, nor a shareholder in any of the companies,” he added.

Nwaoboshi explained that 12 of the bank accounts belong to companies “while most of the other 10 accounts were opened for me by the various banks representatives operating in the National Assembly when I became a Senator .

“Some of the bank officials even used their own money to open those accounts. Some of them I don’t know. Some of the banks are even lobbying us with loans now and they would even tell you that they have credited your accounts. All you just do is to sign the papers. They will just open the accounts on their own and come and give you the documents”.

“It is therefore wicked, malicious, frivolous, scandalous, and a height of irresponsibility. It, therefore portrays the level of the understanding of the law by the leadership of the Special Property Investigation Bureau (SPIB),” he added.

Nwaoboshi further challenged the SPIB to publish the names of the shareholders, directors, and signatories to the accounts for the public to judge.

“For instance, one of the companies they mentioned,  Suiming Electrical Company. The ownership of the company has been settled, in a case determined in 2017 by Hon. Justice Okon Abang where he pronounced the ownership of Suiming Electrical Nigeria Limited and the Guinea House on Marine Road, Apapa in Lagos State which was also linked to me.”

“All the companies mentioned are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. I wonder why the SPIB failed to carry out due diligence before rushing to the court to tarnish my image by securing a forfeiture order on firms that I have nothing to do with,” he saod.

“I went to Court on June 10 this year and obtained an injunction ordering SPIB to maintain the status quo ante on my case as of May 31, 2019.  I wonder why a party to the suit should go ahead to secure this forfeiture order when the injunction had not been lifted”.

He added that necessary legal action will be taken by him against the SPIB.

“We will file the necessary papers at the courts. We shall take all the legal actions because we have already appealed the case,” he further said.