The claim that President Bola Tinubu was convicted in the United States of America, USA, on a charge linked to drug trafficking has been rejected by the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, located in Abuja.
It was decided that Tibubu could not be disqualified from running in the February 25 presidential election since such a punishment did not equate to a criminal conviction.
The case that resulted in the fine being imposed against President Tinubu, according to Justice Haruna Tsammani, who presided over the five-member panel, “was in the civil docket” of the court in the US, according to a meticulous examination of the materials that were brought before the court.
He held that contrary to the contention of the Petitioners, the case, was a civil forfeiture proceeding against funds that were in the bank and not an action that was against Tinubu as a person.
He described such civil forfeiture proceeding as a unique remedy that is targeted at a property and not the owner.
More so, the court held that Obi and the LP failed to show that Tinubu was indicted, arraigned, tried or convicted for any criminal offence in the USA.
The court further noted that following a letter the Inspector General of Police wrote in 2003, the American Embassy, confirmed that there was no criminal record against Tinubu in its centralized information center.
It held that both the letter from the IGP and the response from the US Embassy, were public documents that are admissible in evidence.
The court maintained that the Petitioners did not produce any evidence to establish that Tinubu was tried and convicted for an offence involving of dishonesty.
Besides, the court held that a period of 10 years had elapsed since the said fine was imposed against Tinubu, saying it, therefore, could not be a valid ground to seek his disqualification.
It accordingly dismissed that leg of the petition the LP and Obi filed to nullify President Tinubu’s election.
The Petitioners had among other things, challenged Tinubu’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined the sum of $460,000.00 by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483, for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.
They contended that such indictment, constituted a ground for disqualification under section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.