The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has ruled Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s forfeiture in the United States is inconsequential.
The verdict was declared by Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel.
According to the PEPT, Tinubu was previously cleared by the Nigerian Police Force. And this was made via an inquiry made by the Nigerian Police to the US.
The Tribunal declared that the President’s ability to access and exit the US at will is a proof that he has no criminal record.
In his ruling, Tsammani said,
the judgement of the US District in Northern Illinois which ordered the forfeiture of Tinubu’s $460,000 in a drugs-related case was in civil proceedings in which Tinubu was not a party.
While ruling On the issue of non-qualification due to an alleged criminal indictment,
the petitioners had contended that Tinubu had forfeited $460,000 in the US as an indictment in drug trafficking.
According to the tribunal, the evidence (Exhibit P5) tendered by the petitioners shows that it was a civil forfeiture proceedings.
Also, Justice Tsammani insisted that the petitioners had failed to prove beyond reasons doubt that Tinubu was arraigned or convicted in the US for any crimes.
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“The order of forfeiture in Exhibit P5 on which the petitioners have relied does not qualify as a sentence of fine for an offence involving dishonesty
or fraud within the confabulation of Section 137(d) of the 1999 constitution,” Tsammani said.
According to the tribunal, civil forfeiture is not a criminal charge or conviction.