The Presidential Election Petition Court, on Tuesday in Abuja, admitted in evidence a United States of America (USA) District Court judgment that reportedly indicted Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and ordered his forfeiture of $460,000 in drug-related offenses.
The certified true copy of the judgment was tendered by a witness, Barrister Lawrence Uchechukwu Nnana Nwakaeti, at the commencement of the hearing of a petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, against the election of Tinubu.
Led in evidence by Mr. Jibrin Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, the witness tendered the Court’s judgment as part of requests by Obi and the Labour Party to get Tinubu’s declaration as winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election nullified and set aside.
However, Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced that they have objections against admission of the judgment but reserved the objections for the final address stage.
Under cross-examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who stood for President Tinubu, the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
The Anambra-based legal practitioner, who was Obi’s first witness, also admitted that there was no certificate from any consulate in Nigeria or America in support of the judgment but insisted that “the judgment speaks for itself”.
He claimed to have been to the US and read the judgment in its entirety, adding that he would be surprised if no mention was made of a $460,000 forfeiture.
Also under cross-examination by counsel to the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the witness said that the American court judgment had no certificate given under the hand of any American police officer.
He denied knowledge of a February 4, 2003, formal clearance report by the legal attache from the American Embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.
When asked by Fagbemi SAN to produce a copy of the charges against Tinubu, the witness admitted not having any but maintained that the indictment and forfeiture are from civil proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, has shifted further hearings in the petition until May 31.