Orubebe Denies Wrongdoing In False Asset Declaration Trial

OrubebeFormer 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.

False Assets Declaration: First Witness Testifies In Orubebe’s Trial

OrubebeThe first prosecution witness in the trial of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe, on Thursday testified.

The witness, Mr Samuel Madojemu, said the former minister failed to declare Plot 2057 Cadastral Zone, Asokoro, a property he owns in Abuja.

Speaking under cross examination, he added that a document obtained by him from the FCT Land Registry as the investigator for the tribunal, indicates that there were three plots of land allocated to Orubebe out of which he declared only two.

He said the plot in question, which was allocated to the former minister on April 10, 2011, was not declared as at the time he was leaving office as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and at the end of tenure declaration document signed by him on April 27, 2011.

The witness said there was no place in the asset declaration form where Mr Orubebe indicated that the said plot was given to him by the federal government free of charge.

He testified under re-examination by prosecutor, Mohammed Diri, that he invited the defendant via telephone to come and clarify issues regarding the said plot, an invitation he failed to honour and reason for which, the prosecution says he should be held accountable .

But the defense counsel, Larry Selekowei, who ascertained during cross-examination of the witness that he did not confirm in his investigation that the documents were delivered to the former minister before his declaration of assets, insists there is no credible evidence against his client.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, has adjourned the case till Tuesday, May 24 for cross examination of the second prosecution witness.

Mr Orubebe is being charged by the Code of Conduct Bureau for alleged failure to declare landed property in Kyamu and Asokoro District, both in Abuja, on assumption of office as minister on September 26, 2007.

In the other counts, Mr Orubebe is also facing charges of allegedly accepting bribes totalling 70 million naira from one Pastor Jonathan Alota for the award of contracts in favour of his company.

 

Trial Of Nnamdi Kanu Adjourned Till April 26

Nnamdi KanuThe trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, which was expected to continue on Tuesday morning has been adjourned.

Kanu’s counsel, Chuks Muoma (SAN) applied for stay of proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by them challenging the ruling of the court delivered on March 7 granting the request of the Federal Government to shield witnesses.

Justice James Tsoho has therefore adjourned ruling on the stay of proceedings to April 26.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on March 7 granted the application by the government to shield its witnesses in the trial of the self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu and two others standing trial for alleged treason.

According to the prosecutor, the witnesses claimed they had been threatened by associates of the accused persons should they testify in the court, stressing that they would only testify if they were assured of their personal safety.

Trial Of IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Stalled

KanuThe trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu has been stalled following‎ an application for stay of proceedings filed by the his counsel. 

At the resumed trial in Abuja, lawyer to the accused, Mr Chuks Muoma, told the court that he has filed a motion for stay of proceedings having filed an appeal against the ruling of the court permitting secret trial of Mister Kanu.

The prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Diri, in his response admits receiving a copy of the motion for stay of proceedings shortly before the court commenced sitting.

He, howe‎ver, told the court that he needs time to respond to the motion filed by the defence counsel.

Delivering a short ruling, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned the case to the April 5, 2016 for hearing of the defendants motion.

Kuje, Nyanya Bomb Blasts Suspects’ Trial Stalled

suspectsThe trial of five persons suspected to be masterminds of the October 2, 2015 bomb blast in Kuje and Nyanya, two satellite towns of Abuja has been stalled following the inability of the Nigeria Prisons Service to produce the accused persons in court.

At the resumed hearing of the case filed by the Federal Government  against Abdulazeez Muhazab, Ishaku Salihu, Mohammed Jimoh, Abduwaheed Nasiru and Abdullahi Nasiru, on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mohammed Diri, expressed regret that the accused persons and officials of the Nigeria Prisons Service were absent from the court.

He added that the absence of the accused persons might be due to the fuel scarcity being experienced in the Federal Capital Territory.

Lawyer to three of the accused persons, Mr Nureni Sulyman, however, prayed the court to ensure an accelerated hearing, saying the liberty of the accused persons was at stake.

Mr Diri, who informed the court that he had filed an application for the protection of witnesses, however, promised to ensure that the accused persons are present in court at the next adjourned date.

The trial judge, Justice Abdu Kafarati, subsequently adjourned the case to the December 17 for hearing.