Tinubu had written to the Tribunal that his Heroine business crimes in United Stated is over thirty years old and should not be used to sack him as a president.
According to President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, in their final response to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), stated why their electoral victory should not be voided on the basis of a 1993 United States District Court judgment that ordered Tinubu to forfeit $460,000 suspected to be proceeds of drug trafficking.
Their legal team led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, contended that the said drug forfeiture order was issued 30 years ago (1993) and that Section 137 (1) (e) of the 1999 Constitution states that a conviction has expired after 10 years.
The submissions were contained in the final written address of Tinubu and Shettima legal teams.
The address was in reaction to part of the petition of the presidential candidate of the Labour party, Mr Peter Obi, who told the PEPC to declare that Tinubu was at the time of the presidential election on February 25, not qualified to contest the polls or any other election in Nigeria as of result of the forfeiture order.
Obi’s legal team led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, had maintained that Tinubu was fined in the United States over alleged narcotics trafficking which amounts to a criminal offence in Nigeria.
They also brought a witness to testify in that regard while submitting the said judgment as exhibits before the court.
“The Petitioners further plead that the Tinubu was also at the time of the election not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000.00 (Four-Hundred and Sixty Thousand United States Dollars) 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 between:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. Plaintiff FUNDS IN ACCOUNT 263226700 HELD BY
FIRST HERITAGE BANK, IN THE NAME OF
BOLA TINUBU,” Obi’s lawyers stated in their petition.
The petition is slated for adoption of written address at a later date before the court fixes the date for judgment.
TINUBU/SHETTIMA’S FINAL ADDRESS ON US COURT JUDGEMENT
Meanwhile, Tinubu’s lawyers raised objection to the judgment cited by Obi, adding that even if it was a criminal conviction, the laws of Nigeria have rendered it ineffective because the development took place in 1993, 30 years ago.
“In addition to the foregoing, and assuming without ever conceding that Exhibit PBF1 (US Court Judgment) is remotely connected with criminal forfeiture, section 137 (1) (e) of the Constitution gives an
expiration period of a maximum of 10 years for the subsistence of that conviction and sentence,after which the convict could contest an election to the office of President of Nigeria, ” Olanipekun stated.
Olanipekun added that even though the said section of the 1999 constitution talks of conviction and sentence, a situation which is graver and more potent than a purported civil forfeiture in a foreign land, “has become effluxed by virtue of the constitutional provision”.
Continuing, Olanipekun stated that Obi’s witnesses was unable to point to a single mention of the word “fine” in any of the documents forming part of the US.
proceedings tendered as Exhibit.
Tinubu’s team argued that the said judgment had not been registered in Nigeria in line with the clear provisions of Section 3 of the Reciprocal Enforcement of
Foreign Judgments Ordinance and Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act.
“Upon registration, it becomes a Nigerian judgment by virtue of the order for registration, and can then be enforced, relied upon, or put in use,” Olanipekun contended.
Olanipekun further argued that the judgment should not be relied upon in Nigeria because Obi’s witnesses could not provide any “certificate purporting to be given under the hand of a police officer” from the US “containing a copy of the sentence or order and the finger prints of the [Tinubu] or photographs of the finger prints of the [said 2nd respondent], together with evidence that the finger prints of the person so convicted are those of the [2nd respondent].”
He added, “These are the strict prescriptions under section 249 of the Evidence Act, for the proof of previous conviction of a person outside the Nigerian jurisdiction”.
Olanipekun further told the court that since there was no arraignment, charge or sentencing of Tinubu, the US judgment resulted from civil proceedings.
The learned silk maintained that without prejudice to the submissions of Obi and his witnesses, the court should classify the 30-year-old US Judgment as
Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture (NCBF), “that is, a forfeiture not associated with criminal conviction or sentencing.”
“Article 54(1) (C) of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption states: “Each State Party, in order to provide mutual legal assistance.
pursuant to article 55 of this Convention with respect to property acquired through or involved in the commission of an offence established in accordance with this Convention, shall, in accordance with its domestic law…(c) Consider taking such measures as may be necessary to allow confiscation of such property without a criminal conviction in cases in which the offender cannot be prosecuted,” he stated.
Olanipekun submitted that the said judgment not being criminal in nature, should not amount to a conviction under section 137 of the 199 Constitution.