$460,000 forfeiture: PEPC says no evidence of conviction against Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu

The Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) has held that the Labour Party and it’s Presidential Candidate, Mr Peter Obi failed to provide and proof of a criminal conviction against President Bola Tinubu.

The News Agency of Nigeria,(NAN) reports that the petitioners had prayed the court to nullify Tinubu’s election on the grounds that there was a 460, 000 dollars forfeiture order against him by a United States District Court, Illinois.

In his lead judgment on Wednesday in Abuja, Justice Haruna Tsammani held that Obi and his party failed to substantiate allegations of fraud and drug allegations against President Tinubu.

The tribunal maintained that in the foregoing , Tinubu was duly qualified to contest the Feb. 25 presidential election.

The client maintained that the petitioners failed to prove that Tinubu was found guilty of any offence involving any act of criminality.

The PEPC held that the evidence before the court showed that the forfeiture order against Tinubu was in a civil matter and not criminal matter.

The court said there was no evidence to show that the president was either arraigned or convicted in the US over any alleged crime to warrant his disqualification.

The court opined that the documents tendered by the respondents confirmed that Tinubu was given a clean bill of health upon an enquiry from Nigeria.

“The petitioners’have failed to establish their allegation that Tinubu is disqualified from contesting the presidential election under Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution because he was fine 460, 000 dollars by a district court in Illinois, USA.

“The order of forfeiture in exhibit P5 on which the petitioners have relied does not qualify as a sentence or fine or criminal conviction,” the court said.

The court further held that under Section 269(1&2), provides that such documents must be given under the hand Police official and must be accompanied with a certificate showing that the police officer has powers to sign such documents.

The court also said that even if Tinubu was convicted for the alleged crime, for him to be disqualified from the 2023 election, the purported conviction must have taken place within 10 years to the election.

Meanwhile the forfeiture order was made nearly three decades ago.

The court also dismissed the claim by Obi and LP that the election that produced Tinubu did not comply with the Electoral Act, 2022, on grounds that results of the election were not transmitted real time to the INEC’s Results Viewing (IReV) portals.

The PEPC said also said that there no where in the Electoral Act, that said that elections must be electronically transmitted for collation.

The court noted that Sections 14 and 18 of the Electoral Act provided for the use of the Bi-modal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) for the purpose of accreditation of voters.

Justice Tsammani said that the IReV was not a collation system.

The court is currently making pronouncements on other areas the petitioners were challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election. (NAN)