Orubebe Denies Wrongdoing In False Asset Declaration Trial
Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe, says he does not own any property which was not declared in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Led in evidence by his lawyer, Larry Selekowei, the former minister told the Tribunal that he did not declare Plot 2057 in Asokoro for which he is standing trial , because as at the time he was leaving government in 2011, he had sold off the land to pay two years house rent.
Orubebe told the tribunal that the land for which he is being charged was allocated to him by the government but he sold it to his landlord, one Akinwumi Ajibola, for N10 million to offset the two-year house rent he owed the said landlord.
He said it would have been a crime for him to claim ownership of the property he had sold and the Certificate of Occupancy handed over to the buyer before he left office.
He also told the tribunal that he never saw the Certificate of Occupancy of the land, which was handed over to his landlord after he agreed to exchange the property for rent.
He therefore urged the tribunal to dismiss the charge against him because he had not breached any law concerning the property.
Corroborating his testimony, Mr Akinwumi Ajibola confirmed to the Tribunal that he was the former landlord of the minister and that the minister owed him N10 million for two-year house rent.
He said he is also a real estate developer and that the former minister parted with the empty land allocated to him to offset the debt.
He told the tribunal that the Certificate of Occupancy was handed over to him at the end of the transaction.
Under cross-examination by the prosecutor, Mohammed Diri, the witness said he did not register the Power of Attorney and the Deed of Assignment because what he bought was an empty land in the bush and he was not ready to develop it at that time.
He also said that at the point he wanted to develop the said property he found out that someone else had encroached on it and that he has entered into a discussion with the company that encroached on the said property.
The former minister is standing trial on one-count charge of false declaration assets by the Code of Conduct Bureau.