Tribunal: Witness tenders US verdict on Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture
The Labour Party on Tuesday called its first witness in the ongoing petition between its candidate, Peter Obi, and the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President, Bola Tinubu.
Counsel for the LP and Obi, Jibrin Okutepa, stated that documents from number one to four together with receipts tendered are documents where the vice president, Kashim Shettima, accepted his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC.
The witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, who is a legal practitioner, disclosed that he was deposed to the witness statement on March 20, 2023.
Part of the documents deposed to by Nwakaeti referred to the alleged $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu to the government of the United States.
One of the grounds on which the LP and Obi are praying for the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory is that the president, Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.”
While answering questions during the cross-examination, the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
He also admitted that there was no certificate from any consular in Nigeria or America in support of the judgment.
He, however, maintained that “the judgment speaks for itself.”
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APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asked, “As a lawyer, you are aware that these documents are not registered in Nigeria and there is no certificate attached to the document from the US?” to which Lawrence replied that there are certificates.
“Is there a certificate from the US consular?”
“No certificate from the consular,” Nwakaeti replied.
He also said he had no knowledge of a February 4, 2003, Formal Clearance Report by Legal Attachee from the American Embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.
When asked by Fagbemi, SAN, to produce a copy of the charges against Tinubu, the witness said he had none but maintained that the forfeiture are from civil proceedings.
“You are aware that all the proceedings were civil proceedings?”
“Civil forfeiture proceedings,” the witness replied.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani has shifted further hearing in the petition till May 31.