Fred Itua, Abuja
Former chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Peter Nwaoboshi has gotten a reprieve from arrest and other punitive actions being planned against him by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) for recovery of public property.
A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice J. T. Tsoho granted an order directing that the status quo as at May 31, 2019, be maintained in respect of the matter of alleged non declaration of assets, which the Presidential Panel has been investigating against Nwaoboshi.
“Upon this motion ex parte dated, 08/6/2019, but filed on 10/06/2019, the court ordered that the status quo as at 31st day of May,2019, in respect of this matter, be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the Applicants Originating Motion on Notice,” the court papers read.
The suit was adjourned to the 25th of June, 2019 for hearing of the Applicant’s Motion on Notice.
In the Originating motion, Nwaoboshi had asked the Court for an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Respondents (SPIP and its chairman, Okoi Obono-Obla), “by themseives or any one of them, their servants, agents, officiais and/or privies from continuing to harass, intimidate, threaten and or disturb the Applicant (Nwaoboshi) over and, concerning any alleged declaration of assets; and in particular, from taking any step or further step and/or action in furtherance of the purported.
“‘Notice to Declare assets’ said to have been dated the 15th September, 2018 but served on the Applicant’s gateman, one Suleiman Abubakar at the Applicant’s residence No; 25, 6932 Road, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja, FCT on Monday, the 3rd June, 2019 as well as the said ‘Investigation Activities: Invitation Letter’ dated 6th June, 2019 and served late in the night of the same date on the Applicant’s Personal Assistant, one Ken Ifeanyichukwu at the Applicant’s said Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja, FCT residence pending the hearing and final determination Of the Applicant’s Originating application in this Suit.”
The panel had last Monday asked the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation (DPPF) to commence a proper prosecution against Nwaoboshi over his alleged failure to declare his assets when he was given an asset declaration form to fill during his interrogation by the panel.
The senator was alleged to have corruptly enriched himself and abused his position as Chairman of Senate Committee of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDCC) through the award of multi-billion naira contracts to companies linked to him, which failed to execute the projects.
According to the panel, Nwaoboshi had refused to declare his assets before the panel after lawful demand by the special presidential investigation panel.
“This refusal is contrary to and punishable under section 3(i)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act 2004.
“It shall be appreciated if a charge is brought against him for this offence pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“We hereby attach a draft charge against him, for your perusal and further action, please,” SPIP had stated.