The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has admitted in evidence documents tendered by the candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, to defend his petition against President Bola Tinubu.
Obi had filed a petition at the tribunal to challenge Tinubu’s victory in the election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Tinubu was sworn in as President on Monday, May 29.
The documents which were tendered on Tuesday in Abuja through the petitioner’s first witness, Mr Lawrence Nwakaeti, included a United States District Court judgment.
The judgment allegedly indicted Tinubu and ordered his forfeiture of $460,000 in a drug-related offence.
Nwakaeti, who was led in evidence by Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), told the court that he was a registered voter who voted at a polling unit in his hometown in Anambra on February 25, 2023, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The counsel for the respondents raised objections to the admission of the document in evidence but reserved their arguments to their objections until the final address stage.
Under cross-examination by the counsel for Tinubu, Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
Nwakaeti also admitted that there was no certificate from any Consular in Nigeria or the U.S. in support of the judgment but that the judgement was obtained and certified by the person in whose custody it was.
The witness told the court that he had been to the U.S. and also read the judgment in its entirety, adding that he would be surprised if no mention was made of the forfeiture of $460,000 by Tinubu.
While also cross-examining the witness, the counsel for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), sought to know if the document had the certification of any police officer in the U.S.
“Do you have a certificate given under the hand of a police officer in the United States where the alleged conviction took place?
“Are you aware of a formal clearance report dated February 4, 2003 issued under the legal attache of the United States embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture?”
The witness told the court that he had no certificate from the police and that he was not aware of any such report.
The witness further told the court that he did not have the charges against Tinubu because there were no charges since the indictment was from a civil forfeiture proceeding.
Since Nwakaeti was the petitioner’s only witness for the day, the Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned further hearing in the petition until Wednesday.
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