Why Tinubu Forfeited $460,000 In US – APC Tells Court
The All Progressives Congress has offered more insight into the circumstances that led to its candidate in the just-concluded presidential election and President-elect, Bola Tinubu, forfeiting the sum of $460,000 to the government of the United States of America, in 1993 following a drug trafficking allegation.
Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission, scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party in the February 25 presidential election.
Obi had challenged the announcement of Tinubu as the winner of the election, stating among other things that the APC candidate was not qualified ab initio to contest the election.
He said Tinubu’s forfeiture of his funds to the US government over a drug trafficking allegation was an indication that he engaged in infractions that were enough to disqualify him from contesting an election.
However, the party, in processes it filed through a team of its lawyers led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, to defend its candidate at the Presidential Election Petitions Court, refuted the claim by Obi that Tinubu was convicted by the US as a result of the forfeiture.
The APC informed the Presidential Election Petition Court, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, that funds in the said accounts, which were domiciled in two commercial banks, were subject to a “civil forfeiture proceeding” in Case No: 93C4483.
The party averred that the purported decision of the United State District Court Northern District of Illinois, Eastern division in the said case, was not a fine but a decree of forfeiture of the amount of $460,000 to the US pursuant to the settlement of claim by the parties to the case.
According to the party, “The said decision is not against the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) but against the funds in the various account opened in the name of Bola Tinubu with First Heritage Bank and City Bank N.A.
“The compromise terms that led to the forfeiture were preceded by express admission on record that the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu) did not admit the commission of any drug, drug-related or illicit conduct of dishonesty or fraud that fits into any of the grounds of disqualification to contest for the office of president of Nigeria at the February 25, 2023 general election,” the APC told the court.
The party further told the court that the Federal Government had as far back as 2003, through the US Consulate in Nigeria, inquired about Tinubu’s criminal record and the result was negative.
‘In relation to your letter, dated February 3, 2003, reference number SR.3000 /IGP SEC/ABJ/VOL. 24/287, regarding Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a records check of the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) was conducted.
‘The results of the checks were negative for any criminal arrest records, wants, or warrants for Bola Ahmed Tinubu (DOB 29 March. 1952). For information of your department, NCIC is a centralized information center that maintains the records of every arrest and conviction within the United States and its territories.’