The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the lawmaker representing Delta North Senatorial District, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, for an alleged fraud of N6 billion, The PUNCH is reporting.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed this to the newspaper on the telephone on Monday.
“The senator is currently in our custody. He was arrested over the weekend,” Uwujaren said.
Nwaoboshi, who is a professed loyalist of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, has been on the radar of the EFCC for nearly two years following a series of petitions written against him.
He had, however, shunned several petitions until he was eventually arrested.
In one of such petitions, it was alleged that the lawmaker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, got contracts through 15 companies.
The contracts, which the lawmaker allegedly failed to honour, were for the supply of 500,000 plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in nine oil producing states in Nigeria, which was included in the 2016 budget.
Sources within the EFCC said it was after the lawmaker learnt of the petition that he hurriedly supplied only Akwa Ibom State with 75,000 pieces in January.
It was alleged that Nwaoboshi awarded the contracts worth N3,483,144,000 to 15 companies registered in the names of his relatives and proxies, some of which are not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The companies are Benchmark Construction and Projects Limited; Milestone Allied Builders Limited; Edendoma Stars Intl; Isumabe U.K Global Ventures; Nelpat (Nigeria) Company; Edrihide Company; Antlers Construction and Allied Works Limited; and AGH-Rown Ventures.
Others are NOAN Integrated Services Limited; De-Towers Construction and Allied Services; Eastern Wrought Iron Limited; Franstine Nigeria Enterprises; Brant Technologies; Omozuabho Global Resources and Bugstruct Limited.
Nwaoboshi, who has also been linked to the misapplication of a N1.2 billion bank loan, has also been accused of a N1.5 billion contract scam involving the Delta State Government.
A detective at the EFCC told our correspondent that in 2014, the lawmaker, through his company, Bilderberg Enterprises Limited, received a contract of N1.5 billion to supply brand new construction equipment to the Delta State Direct Labour Agency.
However, the lawmaker allegedly supplied the state government with used goods and passed them off as new.
As part of investigations, the EFCC was said to have written the Nigeria Customs Service to verify if the equipment were new or not.
In a letter sighted by our correspondent, the Customs noted that the equipment, including trucks, which were imported, were merely refurbished.
Nwaoboshi allegedly used part of the diverted funds to buy a 12-storey building at 27 Marina Road, Apapa, Lagos.
The building, which belonged to the Delta State Government, was bought at the cost of N805 million.
A Federal High Court in Lagos in April last year ordered the temporary forfeiture of the building.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka made the forfeiture order after entertaining an ex parte application brought before him by the EFCC.
Joined with Nwaoboshi in the application were his two companies — Golden Touch Construction Project Limited and Bilderberg Enterprises Limited.
In a related development, the senator has also been linked to a N1.2 billion bank loan scam.
Sources said as a member of the board of Nexim Bank in 2014, Nwaoboshi was granted a loan of N1.2 billion under the Local Industrial Growth Scheme.
The money was meant for the purchase of equipment and electrical materials but the senator allegedly diverted part of the funds to acquire properties in Lagos.
“Criminal diversion is a serious offence and NEXIM may have to report him to the Central Bank of Nigeria. As director of the bank, the circumstance of the award of the loan is one that raises fundamental conflict of interest and corporate governance issues,” the source said.
The senator is also alleged to have forged assets declaration documents before the Code of Conduct Bureau, where he concealed 46 different accounts to which he is a signatory.