FORMER Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe‎ has been ordered by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja to forfeit his landed property in the Federal Capital Territory to the federal government for his failure to declare the property as required by law while leaving office. The former minister was found guilty of contravening the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act with his failure to declare the asset in the asset declaration form he submitted to the bureau while leaving office in 2015. The property is located in the highbrow Asokoro area of Abuja. Delivering judgement in the charges brought against him by the federal government, the chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar held that having analysed the submissions of parties, it was observed that six years after the transfer had been made, the documents of the land were not registered in lands registry‎. He further held that the prosecution had established the case of failure to declare assets against the former minister beyond reasonable doubt. The tribunal chairman said that Orubebe as the defendant in the charge was under obligation to register the land in the land registry in Abuja. According to him, “Failure to register the document at the land registry renders the transfer null. In the circumstance, the defendant is still the owner of the said plot 2057, Asokoro District, and not Barrister Akinwumi Ajibola who testified as the Defense Witness 1 and the owner. “Based on the provision of Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, plot 2057, Asokoro District belonging to the defendant (Orubebe) is hereby confiscated and forfeited to the federal government.” Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Orubebe, Mr. Larry Selekewe (SAN) described it as a travesty of justice, as he vowed that it would be challenged at the Court of Appeal. “It showed in the judgement that the tribunal had made up its mind to convict the defendant by all means. How can somebody sell a property and you will now punish him for what the buyer of the property left undone. “And mind you, the buyer of the said property was not a party in the suit. We shall appeal the judgment.” The federal government had dragged Orubebe before the tribunal on a one-count charge of non- declaration of a landed property situate at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, while he was leaving office in 2015. At the argument stage, Orubebe through his counsel told the tribunal that the land no longer belonged to him as he had transferred the interest to one Barrister Akinwumi Ajibola in lieu of his (Orubebe) two years house rent in Mabushi where he stayed as a minister. Orubebe further told the tribunal that all the documents as concerned the land had been transferred to Ajibola, including the Power of Attorney and Deed of Assignment since June 2013. The federal government however insisted that the said land still belonged to Orubebe as it was yet to be registered at the land registry. The prosecution had argued that the allocation paper still bore Orubebe’s name. At the time of this report, Orubebe who felt aggrieved with the tribunal’s decision was making frantic efforts to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.

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  • ipako

    Lost trust in the Nigerian judicial system! Orubebe needs not lose sleep over the seizure of his property because years from now, he would get them back. A rogue judge after being bribed would invalidate this judgement. What a confused and clueless country!