By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, to set aside his conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
The CCT, headed by Justice Danladi Umar, had in a judgment it delivered on October 4, found Orubebe guilty of allegation that he falsely declared his assets in 2007.
The tribunal said it was satisfied that Orubebe shielded his ownership of Plot 2057 Asokoro District, Abuja and ordered the forfeiture of the property.
However, dissatisfied with the judgment, which he described as perverse and a travesty of justice, Orubebe, through his lawyer, Mr Selekeowei Larry, SAN, appealed against same.
He raised three grounds he urged the appellate court to consider and vacate the decision the tribunal reached against him.
He insisted that the two-man panel tribunal misdirected itself in reaching its decision that was not supported by evidence led by the prosecution.
Orubebe argued that the tribunal erred in law when it held that the prosecution proved its case and ordered the forfeiture of the property in issue to the Federal Government, “without any proof of the offence, thereby occasioning gross miscarriage of justice.”
According to him, Plot 2057 was not acquired corruptly nor even purchased by him.
He told the appellate court that it was “a piece of empty land in the bush,” which the Federal Government gave him as a gift as part of his entitlements as a minister.
Orubebe argued that he led credible evidence to prove that he had already sold the controversial property to a company called Divention Properties Limited, and that the company’s Managing Director, Akinwumi Ajibola, testified to that effect during the trial.