Witness presents US verdict on Tinubu’s $460,000 forfeiture

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In the ongoing lawsuit between its candidate, Peter Obi, and the president and leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, the Labour Party on Tuesday called its first witness.

Jibrin Okutepa, the legal representative for the LP and Obi, claimed that documents one through four as well as the receipts offered are the ones where Kashim Shettima, the vice president, accepted the APC’s nomination to run for vice president.

 

Lawyer Lawrence Nwakaeti, the witness, revealed that he was sworn in on March 20, 2023, according to the witness statement.

Nwakaeti’s deposition included documents that included information about the alleged $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu to the US government.

The LP and Obi are asking the court to overturn Tinubu’s victory on a number of grounds, including the fact that the president “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.”

During the cross-examination, the witness acknowledged that the judgement was not registered in Nigeria while responding to questions.

He also acknowledged that the judgement was not supported by a certificate from a Nigerian or American consulate.

On the other hand, he insisted that “the judgement speaks for itself.”

“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?” inquired Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the APC’s attorney. Lawrence responded by saying there are certificates.

Is a certificate from the US consulate present?

“No certificate from the consular,” Nwakaeti answered.

Additionally, he claimed to be unaware of a legal attaché’s formal clearance report from the American Embassy dated February 4, 2003, regarding the purported indictment and forfeiture.

The witness refused to provide a copy of the charges against Tinubu when Fagbemi, SAN, asked him to do so, but he insisted that the forfeiture was the result of civil proceedings.

“You are aware that all of the proceedings were civil proceedings?”

“Civil forfeiture proceedings,” the witness said.

Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, the court’s presiding justice, has postponed further hearing on the petition until May 31.

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