Nigeria: Drama at Ibori’s Money Laundering Trial
TODAY IN COURT: The hearing resumed today as the judge was set to give his ruling on the “problem of the Nigerian constitution”. We stood up and he came into the room, we then sat down again and he started. The Judge declared he has been called upon to construe a section of the Constitution of Nigeria in relation to the ongoing case in front of him.
He said that it was very unusual for a circuit judge to be doing this, however that having been presented the arguments by both the defence’s expert witness and the prosecution’s experts, the issue was whether the NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION meant in the section of disqualification from taking office; crimes commited in Nigeria or in a foreign country.
s.182 see below:
182. (1) No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if –
(a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country; or
(b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections; or
(c) under the law in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind; or
(d) he is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or any other offence imposed on him by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal; or
(e) within a period of less than ten years before the date of election to the office of Governor of a State he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of the contravention of the code of Conduct; or
(f) he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria; or
(g) being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days to the date of the election; or
(h) he is a member of any secret society; or
(i) he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Law or any other law by the Federal or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government; or
(j) he has presented a forged certificate to the independent National Electoral Commission.
The issue was whether (e) alluded to criminal records ONLY in NIGERIA or in anywhere else in the world, HE STRESSED THAT THE MATTER WAS NOT FOR THE ENGLISH COURTS TO DECIDE (yet he was making decision?)
To cut a long story short he stated he was inclined to rule that the above law states that a person was disqualified from taking office if THEY HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD even abroad.
At that juncture, the Defence counsel, Mr Parnell rose up to immediate object to the ruling on the grounds that the Rehabilitation of Ex Offenders Act of 1974 (check it out here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/53)
4 Effect of rehabilitation..
(1)Subject to sections 7 and 8 below, a person who has become a rehabilitated person for the purposes of this Act in respect of a conviction shall be treated for all purposes in law as a person who has not committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or convicted of or sentenced for the offence or offences which were the subject of that conviction; and, notwithstanding the provisions of any other enactment or rule of law to the contrary, but subject as aforesaid— .
(a)no evidence shall be admissible in any proceedings before a judicial authority exercising its jurisdiction or functions in Great Britain to prove that any such person has committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or convicted of or sentenced for any offence which was the subject of a spent conviction; and .
(b)a person shall not, in any such proceedings, be asked, and, if asked, shall not be required to answer, any question relating to his past which cannot be answered without acknowledging or referring to a spent conviction or spent convictions or any circumstances ancillary thereto.
(3)Subject to the provisions of any order made under subsection (4) below,— .
(a)any obligation imposed on any person by any rule of law or by the provisions of any agreement or arrangement to disclose any matters to any other person shall not extend to requiring him to disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction (whether the conviction is his own or another’s); and .
(b)a conviction which has become spent or any circumstances ancillary thereto, or any failure to disclose a spent conviction or any such circumstances, shall not be a proper ground for dismissing or excluding a person from any office, profession, occupation or employment, or for prejudicing him in any way in any occupation or employment.
In particular section 3 states that if the time has been spent and or the fine payed then that person is considered as CLEAN – slate is wiped clean.
Do you hear this? Even the fake crown states this in her law books- if they have done their time and paid their dues their slate is clean.
Ibori’s counsel then argued if the above were the case, the former governor of Delta State was right to fill in the INEC candidacy form that he had no criminal conviction.
ANYWAY come and see the judge: He was utterly lost for words and said this later that he was lost for words.
EVERYONE in the court room was looking for him to pass, to make the grade, but nope he denied the law that his own parliament passed and said that Nigerian Constitution stated that they must declare it.
Mr Parnell pointed out again , IN THIS COUNTRY IF YOU HAVE SPENT the time in Jail or paid the fine then it is considered as paid in full and the slate wiped clean. He asked the judge does he not see this?
The judge answered that he does and we all saw that he hands were tied, he was not going to allow it. So he adjourned for 30 mins and the court emptied.
I presume from the above that if any man has spent their time their record is clean, if the crime is committeed in the UK. Unlike other countries such as Germany where Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg got his own criminal record for ARSON. I wondered if this judge knew?
Anyway 30 mins later we were back in the court room and he continued: he found that the Nigerian Constitution found that ANY one that had criminal records from abroad was disqualified from talking office… TELL THAT TO THE NIGERIaN JUDICIARY JARE please …. When our own laws states that the crimes must be in Nigeria ONLY and not abroad.
They then moved onto the matters concerning the trial upon that I left.
By Elizabeth Obisanya
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