Amid the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, there was a rehash of allegations involving a number of candidates, with the latest on Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Over the previous days, courtroom papers a few forfeiture case within the US linked to somebody named “Bola Tinubu” surfaced on-line.
In response to the paperwork on a case courting again to 1993, it’s alleged that funds traced to the Tinubu in query are linked to proceeds of narcotics trafficking.
The paperwork additionally present that the courtroom dominated that the sum of $460,000 in one of many accounts be forfeited to the US authorities.
Reacting to the paperwork, Festus Keyamo, spokesman of APC presidential marketing campaign council, stated the case didn’t show that Tinubu was linked to illicit medicine, including that the funds forfeited to the US had been tax deductions.
“After all of the rigamarole looking for out whether or not the accounts the place the cash got here from are linked to medicine, they got here to the conclusion that the deposits he made — what these bankers known as investments — they stated he had not paid tax on these pursuits. That’s all,” Keyamo stated.
FAKE LETTER CLAIMING INEC IS PROBING TINUBU SURFACES
Amid the back-and-forth over the courtroom case, a doc with the letterhead of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) surfaced on-line, with the declare that the fee is investigating the stated US case.
Nonetheless, the electoral physique described the doc as “pretend”, including that it was not doing something of such.
CAN INEC DISQUALIFY TINUBU?
Though Tinubu is but to react on to the courtroom paperwork, there have been questions over if INEC has the ability to disqualify Tinubu contemplating the problems raised on the 1993 case and the stated indictment on hyperlinks to illicit medicine.
Part 84(3) of the electoral act supplies that: “A political occasion shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification standards, measures, or circumstances on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its structure, tips, or guidelines for nomination of candidates for elections, besides as prescribed beneath sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the structure.”
On the disqualification of a presidential candidate, part 137(1) of the structure supplies that:
“(a) topic to the provisions of part 28 of this Structure, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a rustic aside from Nigeria or, besides in such circumstances as could also be prescribed by the Nationwide Meeting, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such different nation; or
“(b) he has been elected to such workplace at any two earlier elections; or
“(c) beneath the regulation in any a part of Nigeria, he’s adjudged to be a lunatic or in any other case declared to be of unsound thoughts; or
“(d) he’s beneath a sentence of demise imposed by any competent courtroom of regulation or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fantastic for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by no matter title known as) or for another offence, imposed on him by any courtroom or tribunal or substituted by a reliable authority for another sentence imposed on him by such a courtroom or tribunal; or
“(e) inside a interval of lower than ten years earlier than the date of the election to the workplace of President he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been discovered responsible of the contravention of the Code of Conduct; or
“(f) he’s an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or in any other case declared bankrupt beneath any regulation in power in Nigeria or another nation; or
“(g) being an individual employed within the civil or public service of the Federation or of any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment not less than thirty days earlier than the date of the election; or
“(h) he’s a member of any secret society; or
“(i) he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Fee of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal arrange beneath the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Regulation or another regulation by the Federal or State Authorities which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Authorities, respectively; or
“(j) he has introduced a solid certificates to the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee.”
In 2007, Tinubu had a case earlier than the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which he was not convicted for. If he was convicted, the regulation bars him from public workplace for 10 years. But it surely has been 15 years since that case was instituted in opposition to him.
THE ACTION CONGRESS VS INEC EXAMPLE
In a ruling delivered in 2007, in a case involving INEC and the then Motion Congress, the supreme courtroom had stated solely a courtroom has the ability to disqualify a candidate from contesting elections.
The apex courtroom additionally held that an indictment is just not sufficient to disqualify an individual from contesting in an election, since “an indictment is not more than an accusation”.
KOGI SDP VS INEC
In 2019, the federal excessive courtroom in Abuja had declared that INEC doesn’t have the ability to disqualify a candidate because the fee “can not arrogate to [itself] the powers of the courtroom or represent [itself] as a quasi- courtroom to disqualify a candidate”.
The decision was delivered by Folashade Ogunbiyi-Giwa after the Social Democratic Get together (SDP) sued INEC for excluding the occasion’s candidate from contesting the 2019 Kogi governorship election.
‘US 1993 CASE NOT WITHIN GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION’
Talking with TheCable, Pelumi Olajengbesi, a lawyer, stated the case involving Tinubu is just not grounds for him to be disqualified as a candidate.
“The problem of disqualification by INEC is actually a constitutional matter and the current scenario because it pertains to the US 1993 case doesn’t fall throughout the purview of grounds to disqualify an individual vying for the workplace of president or any elective workplace in Nigeria as supplied by the structure,” he stated.
“In keeping with the wordings of the structure, an individual can solely be disqualified on the idea of conviction, if identical was made no more than 10 years earlier than the election, as is actually not the case right here.
“Secondly, the stated conviction have to be in relation to crime of dishonesty and fraud. Effectively, that is one other difficulty totally. The US courtroom findings have solely change into an ethical query and burden on Bola Ahmed Tinubu and it’s only that which may decide his innocence on the polls.
“Additionally, as addendum, on the authority of Motion Congress v. INEC (2007) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1048) 222, solely a reliable courtroom of regulation can disqualify a candidate. That is the place of the supreme courtroom. Due to this fact, INEC can not.”
‘ONLY COURT CAN DISQUALIFY TINUBU’
Timilehin Ajibade, additionally a lawyer, stated solely a courtroom can decide if Tinubu might be disqualified, including that for the reason that APC candidate wasn’t sentenced, he hasnt flouted the constitutional necessities.
“The proceeds that had been held in belief for him through Citibank and First Herirage Financial institution had been forfeited to the US authorities. He was by no means imprisoned or given an choice of fantastic. The latter are components of part 137(1)(d) of the structure which stipulates the requirement for disqualification for the workplace of the president,” Ajibade stated.
“If he forfeited the funds to the US authorities, he has served the sentence fully, and can’t be stated to be beneath any sentence once more. If he wasn’t sentenced to imprisonment and the choice was forfeiture, then the easy act can’t be interpreted as a fantastic.
“Can INEC disqualify Tinubu? Your entire provision of the Electoral Act 2022 doesn’t grant any such energy to the physique to undertake such operate or motion. Therefore unlawful. Solely a courtroom of regulation, through an election petition can do this.” (The Cable)