Aiteo Energy’s chief executive’s earnings, assets legitimate, court rules
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has declared that the earnings and assets of oil magnate and chief executive officer (CEO) of Aiteo Energy, Benedict Peters, were legitimately acquired. This followed a similar ruling quashing multiple money laundering inducement of electoral officials’ charges against him.
Justice Valentine Ashi, who delivered the judgment, noted that there was no evidence to support the claim his business was being criminally run in breach of extant laws.
In the suit, FCT/HC/CV/ 0091/ 17, the plaintiff, Moses Uyah, had alleged that Peters’ acquisition of a number of assets was fraudulent, arguing that his earnings through which the purchase was made were illegal.
Consequently, he had asked the court not only declare the acquisitions as illegitimate but also pronounce that Peters was living above his means with funds allegedly acquired corruptly through shady deals. The counsel had also prayed for the forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government.
In his response, Peter had produced evidence to back his sound business practices over the past 25 years in the oil and gas industry. Also provided were documents from financial institutions showing funding over the years for investments on the stable of the Aiteo Group.
Justice Ashi ruled that Peters had creditably established a verifiable means of livelihood and a reliable source of his wealth leading to the legitimate acquisition of the properties in question.
On the strength of the evidence before the court, the judge averred that the defendant could not be accused of living above his means. He established, in the proceedings, that “there was no evidence to support the suggestion that any aspect of his business showed any criminal conduct and as such, the plaintiff’s allegations were baseless.”
In dismissing the case, Justice Ashi ruled that the “said assets and properties having been legitimately acquired by the defendant cannot be forfeited to the government under any circumstances.”
The judge restrained any person, security agency or authority from “disturbing the defendant’s quiet enjoyment of his assets and properties having been found to be legitimately acquired.”
In upholding Peters’ evidence and contention, the learned judge found that there was no merit in the allegations of criminal conduct relied upon by Uyah and the case as a whole. In doing so, the judge observed“…that in the absence of any specific offence and proof of commission of crime, the defendant legitimately and lawfully acquired the assets and properties, the subject matter of this suit…”
The assets listed include 58 Harley House, Marylebone Road, London worth 2,800,000 million pounds, apartment 4, 5, Arlington Street, London worth 11,800,000 million pounds, Flat 5, 83-86, Prince Albert Road, London worth 3,750,000 million pounds and also other assets of Aiteo Energy Resources worth over $4.023 billion.
Also listed by and affected by the judgment are monies in Account No 105277 in FBN Bank (UK) in the name of Mr. B and Mrs. N. Peters, monies in Account No 107127 in FBN Bank (UK) of Walworth Properties Ltd., the sum of 36,674.7 pounds held on behalf of defendant in the client Account of Clyde and Co. LLP, London, the sum of 40,620 pounds held in the correspondent Bank Account at Ghana International Bank, London and shares in Walworth Properties Limited, Rosewood Investments and Colinwood Limited.