The All Progressives Congress, APC, has admitted its candidate and President-elect, Bola Tinubu, indeed forfeited the sum of $460,000 to the government of the United States of America, USA, in 1993 following drug trafficking allegation.
It, however, refuted claim that Tinubu was convicted by US as a result of the forfeiture.
Recall the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) had challenged the declaration of Tinubu as president-elect and prayed the court to declare as the legitimate winner of the keenly-contested February 25 poll.
According to him, Tinubu’s forfeiture of his funds to the US government over drug trafficking allegation is an indication that the former Lagos State governor committed infractions that should disqualify him from running for an election in Nigeria.
But reacting in processes it filed to defend its candidate, APC maintained that Tinubu merely surrendered funds in 10 bank accounts that were opened in either his name or that of Compass Finance and Investment Co.
It told the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, 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 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 office of president of Nigeria at the 25th February, 2023 general election,” APC told the Tribunal.
It further argued that the said forfeiture Tinubu made to the US government, having lasted a period of 29 years, was no longer a valid ground to challenge his eligibility to contest the presidential election.