Orubebe appeals against CCT conviction, land forfeiture

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A former Minister of Niger Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, has appealed his conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for failing to declare his Plot 2057,  Asokoro District, to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

As punishment, the Danladi Umar-led CCT had in its judgment delivered on October 4, 2016, ordered that the property which the former minister failed to declare be forfeited to the Federal Government.

In a notice of appeal filed by his lawyer, Selekeowei Larry (SAN), before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Orubebe sought an order setting aside the October 4, 2016 judgement of the CCT.

He raised three grounds of appeal, arguing among others, that the 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, Plot 2057 Asokoro District, to the Federal Government.

The former minister argued that the CCT convicted him “without any proof of the offence, thereby occasioning gross miscarriage of justice.”

He argued that he neither acquired the Plot 2057 corruptly nor even purchased it, but was a gift to him by the Federal Government.

Orubebe said he led credible evidence, which the prosecution did not fault, about how he sold the house to a company called Divention Properties Limited, with the company’s Managing Director, Akinwumi Ajibola, testifying to that effect during trial.

He faulted the CCT for holding that he remained the owner of the plot of land on the grounds that Divention, to who the property was sold, did not effect change of ownership.

He said, “Not only were the deed of assignment, deed of sale and Power of Attorney tendered and admitted in evidence, defence witnesses one and two (Ajibola and Orubebe) testified to the transaction without any contradiction.

“There is no time limit for regularisation of title at the Land Registry.”

Orubebe further argued against the decision of the CCT, to the effect that it erred in law when, rather than keeping itself within the evidence before it and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal (CCB/T) Act, it went and relied on the Land Instrument Registration Act (LIRA), without hearing from counsel on both sides.

PUNCH


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