The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) admitted to the Presidential Election Petitions Court in Abuja that it had no knowledge of a US District Court judgment involving President Bola Tinubu prior to the 2023 presidential election. The judgment, dating back over 20 years, ordered Tinubu to forfeit $460,000 suspected to be proceeds from narcotics trade.
This revelation came in response to a petition filed by the Labour party’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, seeking Tinubu’s disqualification due to this case. Obi’s legal team argued that Tinubu was ineligible to run due to the fine imposed by the US court for an offense involving dishonesty.
However, INEC’s lead counsel, A.B. Mahmoud, argued that the forfeiture order wasn’t brought to the commission’s attention before the election. He also pointed out that according to the 1999 Constitution, a fine leading to disqualification must be tied to a court sentence.
Mahmoud further contended that the US case was a “civil forfeiture proceeding” and did not result in a charge or conviction. He urged the court to dismiss the allegation, maintaining that Tinubu and his running mate Kashim Shettima were qualified candidates.
The lawyers representing Tinubu, Shettima and the All Progressives Congress echoed Mahmoud’s arguments, asserting that the US judgment was not a criminal conviction and is unenforceable in Nigeria ue to its foreign origin and its age of over 20 years.
SOURCE: Igbo Times Magazine
IMAGE: Voice of liberty ng