No Evidence Tinubu Was Criminally Convicted In US ––PEPC

Posted on September 6, 2023

The Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC), sitting at the Court of Appeal Abuja, has dismissed allegations by Peter Obi, Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), that President Bola Tinubu was criminally convicted in a drug-related trafficking case in the United States.

A five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, ruled that no record of criminal arrest or conviction was established against Tinubu by the petitioners.

Obi had in his petition, filed before the court, alleged that President Tinubu was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.

He contended that such indictment constituted a ground for disqualification under section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

But in a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Tsammani held that evidence before the court established that the $460,000 fine that was imposed on Tinubu, “was in the civil docket” of the court in the US.

He added that such a fine did not translate to a criminal conviction that was capable of warranting Tibubu’s disqualification from contesting the presidential election that was held on February 25.

The court held that contrary to the claim of the Petitioners, the case was a civil forfeiture proceeding against funds that were in the bank and not an action that was against Tinubu as a person.

Justice Tsammani described the civil forfeiture proceeding as a unique remedy that is targeted at a property and not the owner.

The court noted that following a letter the Inspector General of Police wrote in 2003, the American Embassy, confirmed that there was no criminal record against Tinubu in its centralized information centre.

It held that both the letter from the IGP and the response from the US Embassy were public documents that are admissible in evidence.

The court maintained that the Petitioners did not produce any evidence to establish that Tinubu was tried and convicted for an offence involving dishonesty.

The Tribunal said the petitioners failed to prove that the allegation at the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division where the forfeiture occurred was a criminal case.

Consequently, Justice Tsammani dismissed the allegation of criminal forfeiture against President Tinubu and held that Obi and the LP failed to show that the former Lagos State Governor was indicted, arraigned, tried or convicted for any criminal offence in the United States.

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