Court cancels corruption allegations against Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters
A high court in Nigeria’s administrative capital, Abuja, has dismissed all allegations of corruption, bribery, and money laundering leveled by British and Nigerian agencies against Nigerian billionaire oil mogul Benedict Peters.
Peters is the founder of Aiteo Group, Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil producer. He had an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion in November 2014, making him one of the continent’s wealthiest men.
According to an Abuja-based court statement, the allegations of corruption, bribery, and money laundering leveled against Peters in connection with his properties are baseless.
The court also ruled that Peters is a person of legitimate means and livelihood and that he and his related companies are the rightful owners of some properties incorrectly listed as belonging to Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former oil and petroleum resources minister.
The court determined that the defendants suppressed and misrepresented facts by falsely claiming that four properties legitimately acquired by Peters were owned by Alison-Madueke.
In reaching the critical conclusions, the court determined that Peters established proprietorship ownership of all the properties based on the evidence presented, documents, and existing court judgments.
The claimants alleged that the defendants engaged in a scheme of conspiracies, carousel fraud, misrepresentation, and suppression of material facts, resulting in hardship, grave damages, loss of earnings, and loss of goodwill, as well as public contempt, odium, and opprobrium.
It condemned the “deceitful sham allegations by the defendants” and determined that “the defendants’ unlawful means of conspiracy were to extract by intimidation, coercion, the assets, properties, and monies to which the claimants are legitimately entitled.”
As a result, the court awarded Peters and three of his companies — Collinwood, Rosewood Investments, and Walworth Properties — N200 million ($455,000) in damages jointly and severally against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and five others.