The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday struck out Peter Obi and the Labour Party’s petition pointing to President Bola Tinubu’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking in the United States.
Goldennewsng reports that the petitioners had contended that Tinubu forfeited $460,000 in the U.S. following an indictment over drug trafficking.
However, while maintaining that Tinubu cannot be disqualified on the basis of his forfeiture of drug money in the United States, the tribunal judges said the evidence (Exhibit P5) tendered by Peter Obi and LP, other petitioners showed that “it was a civil forfeiture proceeding.”
“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,” said Justice Haruna Tsammani, who read the judgement on Wednesday.
He added: “The petitioners have evidently failed to establish their allegation that the 2nd respondent is disqualified from contesting the presidential election under Section 137(1)(d) of the 1999 constitution because he was fined $460,000 by a district court in Illinois.”
According to the tribunal, civil forfeiture is not a conviction or a criminal charge. It maintained that there is no record showing Tinubu was arrested or convicted for any crimes.
Tsammani held that the petitioners failed to adduce credible evidence to show that Tinubu was arraigned, took a plea or was sentenced or fined in any criminal suit in the US.
This is even as the court rejected the admissibility of evidence tendered by LP’s web engineer, Mpeh Ogar, regarding a technical glitch observed on the INEC result viewing portal because Ogar “was an interested party in the petition having vied for elective office on LP’s platform”.