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Benedict Peter vs EFCC


A Nigerian High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja *has declared all allegations of corruption, bribery and money laundering made against AITEO boss and International Billionaire Businessman Benedict Peters by British and Nigerian agencies arising from his ownership of a number of properties as baseless as they were premised on trumped up charges that constituted abuse of state power* .

The court therefore declared that the African Billionaire businessman, Mr. Benedict Peters is a person of legitimate means and livelihood and Him and his related companies are the lawful owners of some properties wrongfully listed as owned by Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.

In proceedings suit no FCT/HC/CV/0536/17 filed by Mr. Benedict Peters and three of his companies Colinwood Limited, Rosewood Investments Limited and Walworth Properties Limited against the Attorney General of the Federation, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the United Kingdom, Helen Hughes of the CPS, the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and its investigators Stacey Boniface and John Bavister, *the Court found that that the Defendants, by fraudulent design, suppressed and misrepresented facts in supposition that four properties namely* : 270-17 Street, Unit #4204, Atlanta, Georgia, Flat 5 Parkview, 83-86 Prince Albert Road, St. John’s Wood, London, Flat 58 Harley House Marylebone, London, and Apartment 4, 5 Arlington Road, London that were legitimately acquired by him belonged to Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria, a fact they knew or ought to know as unsustainably untrue. In reaching the critical conclusions, the court found through evidence adduced, documents and subsisting court judgments that Peters established proprietorship ownership of all the properties.

The Claimants had contended that the Defendants engaged in a scheme of conspiracies, carousel fraud, misrepresentation and suppression of material facts which occasioned hardship, grave damages, loss of earnings, loss of goodwill and subjected the Plaintiffs to public contempt, odium and opprobrium. They further averred that the fraud committed by the Defendants consists in dishonest/fraudulent misrepresentation of the true ownership of the assets in that they utilized a series of gross mis-statements and concealment of facts as the basis upon which they obtained a succession of court orders in the form of interim forfeiture orders following which they utilized the orders to support a request for Mutual Legal Assistance that culminated in two Restraint orders in the United Kingdom. The court found that these series of events continued even after representations were made about the true ownership of the properties and this position affirmed by subsisting judgments of competent jurisdiction. In the judgment, the court observed that despite the subsistence of these judgments declaring the true ownership of the properties, the defendants continue to refuse to release the properties.

The Judge, Mr. Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, having heard and considered the witnesses and comments, the full submissions of counsel for the parties and a careful assessment of the the evidence, concluded that the defendants actions were directly intended (albeit to inflict economic loss on the just as much as it was to unlawfully profit the Defendants) to extract, by intimidation, coercion the assets, properties and monies to which the Claimants are legitimately entitled, finding that the acts of the defendants were targeted at misleading the court or misusing the legal process to injure the claimants economic interests. He found that the existence of a common agreement between the parties was rightly inferred by their concerted acts and that those were purposeful, calculated and pre-determined to achieve those outcomes. .

*Justice Adeniyi made an number of declaratory and injunctive reliefs in favour of Mr.Benedict Peters and the other claimants including an award of damages jointly and severally against the defendants. The judge declared that the defendants(British NCA, CPS, Mr.John Bavista,Helen Hughes, Stacey Boniface and Nigerian AGF, EFCC, etc by fraudulent design, suppressed and misrepresented facts about the ownership of the relevant properties; that the predominant purpose of the sham allegations was directly intended to cause the claimants economic loss; that the unlawful means of conspiracy of the defendants was to extract by intimidation and coercion, properties to which the claimants were legitimately entitled* .

The judge therefore ordered the Defendants,
British NCA, CPS, Mr.John Bavista,Helen Hughes, Stacey Boniface and Nigerian AGF, EFCC,their operatives, officers, agents, servants in whatever manner and howsoever called, *be jointly or severally restrained from interfering with the proprietary rights and/or interests of Mr.Benedict Peters and the other Claimants, their agents, alter-ego or privies in relation to the properties listed in this suit. It further ordered the Defendants either by themselves jointly/severally, their operatives, officers,* investigators, servants, agents, associates and howsoever called, are hereby restrained from interfering/continued interference with the person of Mr. Peters, either by way of arrest, criminal indictment, charge, interdiction, extradition, or in any other manner infringing on his personal liberty and freedom of movement on the facts and circumstances of this case. *As to the quantum of economic loss, the Court awarded general damages in the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira jointly and severally against the Defendants to reflect, in the judge’s words, “…a peculiar case of misuse of state powers, oppression and* crass victimization through a tacit design to undermine the economic interest of the claimants …”

Counsel to the Plaintiffs Chief Mike Ozekhome, while reacting to the judgment, said that it has been a long five years for the Claimants to clear their names and that this judgment was a victory not only for the supremacy of rule of law but a critical indictment of abuse of office, the video arbitrary use of power and ignominious prosecutorial and investigative fraud.

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