Friday, 8 April 2016

How Former Minister, Orubebe, Failed To Declare Abuja Property — Witness



A prosecution witness testifying against a former Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, has said that Mr. Orubebe failed to declare a property he acquired during the previous administration.
Mr. Orubebe is facing a one-count charge of alleged false asset declaration when he was minister.

The witness, Samuel Madojemu, a staff of the Code of Conduct Bureau, said he coordinated investigation into observed breaches of the CCB Act, perpetrated by Mr. Orubebe.
Mr. Madojemu, who told the tribunal that Mr. Orubebe tendered five asset declaration forms to the CCB, during the period of 2007 to 2011, added that Mr. Orubebe however did not declare a landed property he purchased in April 2011.
Mr. Madojemu said investigations revealed that the Certificate of Occupancy for the said property located at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, was dated April 10, 2011.
He added that the Bureau invited Mr. Orubebe for questioning regarding the findings but he the former minister failed to honour the invitation.
Mr. Madojemu also stated that Mr. Orubebe submitted the forms, first as Minister of Special Duties under the administration of late President Umaru Yar’adua, and later as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The forms were immediately admitted in evidence, but the Certificate of Occupancy was contested by Mr. Orubebe’s lawyer, Selekowei Larry, who noted that the C-of-O was the product of a letter authored by an interested party to the matter.
Mr. Larry argued that the C-of-O was attached to a letter dated February 18, 2016 from the Land Registry of the Federal Capital Territory and authored by the Assistant State Counsel of the Registry’s Administration, Funke Audu.
He contended that since the letter was authored at a time when the trial had already commenced, could not be admitted in evidence.
He cited Section 83(3) of the Evidence Act 2011.
“The letter is dated February 18, 2016, whereas the suit commenced on October 18, 2015,” Mr. Larry said.
The Tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar, however overruled Mr. Larry’s objection stating that Mrs. Audu, while in the discharge of her duty, could not have been an interested party to the matter.
The trial was adjourned to the 14th of April.