Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe yesterday appealed his conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for failing to declare his Plot 2057, Asokoro District property 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 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 yesterday, Orubebe sought an order setting aside the October 4 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 to the federal government.
He argued that the CCT convicted him “without any proof of the offence, thereby occasioning gross miscarriage of justice.”
He said 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 whom 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.
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 relied on the Land Instrument Registration Act, LIRA, without hearing from counsel on both sides.
The federal government had on March 8, 2016, re-arraigned Orubebe on an amended charge of failure to declare his property at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, Abuja, in his asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau as a minister between 2007 and 2011.
The offence was said to be contrary to Section 15 of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.